Recently the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum announced it is the beneficiary of its largest donation ever, €12.5 million, from an anonymous benefactor. It enables the museum to do more spectacular events and exhibitions. Wonderful of course; art is an important element to color our lives and document history, and culture for that matter.
We plan clients’ financial lives based on their dreams, ambitions and possibilities. Many of these plans show a financial journey that starts with modest means, then shows growth (for several exacerbated by the person a relationship is started with), if children come serious capital is put to work to finance their upbringing and education, followed by a period it is generally possible to accumulate wealth due to lower and more or less fixed expenses, and a period with somewhat less activity during pension and finally death. There are many exceptions to this generic path but we urge you to consider your path’s financial expectations now and again. And that you are consciously aware what part of that journey lies ahead of you.
Some clients have strong ideas they have earned their wealth and intend to expense it all. Others mean to have (grand-) children a better start in life or education than they experienced themselves. They intend to leave an inheritance to support that thought. Another “category” ensures institutions are supported to lighten up and/or conserve society. We have intimate discussions with clients about their deepest emotions related to financial goals and call the elephants in the room by name. We explain that it might be enough to be remembered as a generous person (see the Rijksmuseum example this article started with) but there are also possibilities to witness what the beneficiaries do with your gift if you give what you have in mind ahead of your demise.
Knowing what lifestyle clients consider important for themselves we can show what is left at some point in the future. And we know very few will live past 110 years. So if you factor in inflation, next life phases and contingencies you might also plan the next stop for the unused part of your estate. We planners work closely with notaries to align wills with the plan and use flexibility and tax exemptions to get as much as possible and allowed to your beneficiaries.
Not everybody will leave significant amounts for their heirs. My grandfather had been a farmhand all his life and left small sums to his 5 children and 14 grandchildren. I could buy a hallway lamp for our first house with my share and thought of him each time I switched the light on.
In the first phases of the financial journey described above there will be hardly any thinking about financial excess. Far from it mostly. But if your periodic financial check-up makes it clearer every time there will be something at the end of your rainbow discuss your ideas with your financial planner to optimize timing and structuring. You will be amazed what it will do.