Recently rock legend Sting made headlines when he declared that his six children would be receiving little to none of his estimated $300 million fortune. Financial Planner Kevin McKinley argues that there are ways to give your children money without you having to worry about them becoming trust-fund brats.

Sting’s motive for not leaving an inheritance to his kids is understandable to a degree. Wealth can be a springboard to some, but others can squander it away to their own demise. Is there another way to ensure your kids will use the money sensibly without cutting them completely out of the will? A recent article explains that, used in the right way, your wealth can help you teach your child about using money wisely.

The Time article, titled “This is What Sting Should Have Done for His Kids, Instead of Disinheriting Them“, lays out three ways you can use a small amount of your own money (during your lifetime) to motivate your children to be more productive and self-reliant without spoiling them rotten.

  1. Save something for his college. You need not drop every dollar you have into a college savings account. Instead, set a little aside to show your commitment to your child’s education. It also ensures that he or she does not have to choose between assuming a huge student loan and not going to college at all.
  2. Jumpstart retirement savings. When your child earns his or her first paycheck, you can again use a little money to teach a valuable lesson: open a Roth IRA on the child’s behalf by April 15th of the year after they get their first job. They will be able to deposit the lesser of their earnings, or $5,500. The article explains that a $5,000 deposit today into a 16 year-old’s Roth IRA earning 6% annually would be worth almost $100,000 by the time he turns 66, but if he deposits $5,000 into the Roth IRA every year for 50 years, the account could be worth roughly $1.5 million by the time he reaches 66.
  3. Help with the house. The Time article quotes the National Association of Realtors, which says the median home price in the U.S. as of May of 2014 is $214,000. If your child’s (and/or their spouse’s) annual income is about $60,000, they should be able to qualify for a 30-year mortgage at about 4.0% to purchase a home in that price range. The monthly mortgage payment would be about $1,300. However, the biggest obstacle to the purchase of a first home may be the down payment of $42,000 (to make a 20% down payment). Consider helping your child meet that down payment requirement so they will not only enjoy the satisfaction of home ownership, but will also build equity in something with their own money.

It might also mean you have a place to stay if you emulate Sting and spend all of your money now.

Reference: Time (June 25, 2014) This is What Sting Should Have Done for His Kids, Instead of Disinheriting Them

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.