How Fast Do People Spend An Inheritance?

You spend years building up your wealth. Maybe it takes decades. You put money and assets aside to pass on to your children.

But how long is that really going to last? After you leave the money to your children, how fast do you think that they’re going to spend it?

Though you might like to think of them spreading it out for years, really making use of what you’ve left behind, the reality is that people usually spend it in a year or less.

This suggests that people already know what they want to do with the money: Go on vacation, buy a house, start a business, pay off debt. When they get the money, there is no reason to wait. They just spend it.

One word of caution, then, is to consider the age of the people you want to leave money to. If you want to leave it to a grandchild, for instance, will they make the best decisions? An 18-year-old may spend all of that money before they turn 19. Do you want them to have that freedom at such a young age, or would you rather give them the money when they’re 35? They will still probably spend it in a year, but would they be more likely to make a wise decision at that age than they would as a teenager?

These are critical questions to ask when doing your estate planning. After you answer them and find out what you want to accomplish, it’s time to look into all of the options you have to make that possible.