Trust Services and SIMPLIFY
Giving to the Grandchildren (Part Two)
The following was taken from
Your Life…Well Spent
by Russ Crosson, Executive Vice Chairman and EVP of Ronald Blue Trust.
I discussed previously why we generally do not recommend that grandparents give cash gifts or assets to their grandchildren, either outright or in trust. Rather than showering grandchildren with money, here are some suggestions that can help develop a godly posterity.
Take the parents and grandchildren on a vacation. Most young couples do not have discretionary funds to take vacations. If the grandparents offer to pay for the trip and include everybody, they invest in a family memory. Not only will a trip together create memories, but the grandparents can spend some time with the grandchildren and reinforce the values and qualities the parents are teaching them. The vacation could be to the lake for a week, to a ski area in Colorado, or to a family camp. It could also be as simple as paying for the parents and grandchildren to come for a visit if they live in another state.
Offer to fund private elementary and secondary school. The first 10 years of a child’s life are the most critical. This is also the time when money may be tightest for the parents. Grandparents can make a strategic investment for the grandchild to attend a private Christian school that could help develop godly spiritual and social capital in the grandchild.
Offer to fund housecleaning help. With parents of young children, funding something as seemingly insignificant as a regular housecleaning service could have a significant impact on the emotional and physical strength of the mother and father. This strength can then be channeled into the grandchildren at this formative time in their lives.
Invest in the children and grandchildren by giving them time. Although it costs the least, this is perhaps the most important thing grandparents can do to have a lasting impact on their family. One way to do this is to keep the grandchildren for an afternoon or a weekend so the parents can get away for some alone time, a planning session, a marriage seminar, a retreat, etc. All of these are investments in posterity.
Because we live in a culture where the extended family can live far away, this investment of time may require using some resources to rent an apartment close to the children and grandchildren to spend some time with them. It may require the purchase of airplane tickets to visit more frequently or driving many hours to spend short amounts of time with them. The gift of a grandparent’s time can make a huge difference in the life of a child.
Make cash gifts if the extended family is fragmented. It is more costly today to buy time than it was when extended families lived closer geographically. If grandparents can’t be there to give their time, some unexpected cash to the parents could be very welcome and helpful in investing in the grandchildren. It’s good to remember that it does cost more to raise children now than in previous generations.
If you’re a grandparent, you likely can think of countless other ways to invest your time and money to enhance your posterity, or the character of the descendants you leave behind. But remember that posterity is what is important, not trust funds that may leave a legacy of children and grandchildren dependent on your wealth.
If you have already set up the trusts, then immediately find a way to develop values and character in your grandchildren. At the same time, do not complicate matters by leaving even more money to them. In addition, if you have skipped a generation in leaving your wealth, your children may want to consider leaving less to their own children from their estate.
Be careful also of your pride. Wanting your children and grandchildren to look or act a certain way could cause you to overindulge them with material things.
Finally, maximize the time you have left to advise your children and grandchildren on what it means to be truly successful. A gray head is a wise head, as Proverbs says, and no greater gift can be given to the next generations than teaching them how to earn and use money wisely.
At Ronald Blue Trust, we believe in enhancing posterity over increasing prosperity. To learn more about the heritage
can leave to coming generations, or for more information on Russ Crosson’s book,
Your Life…Well Spent,
please contact a Ronald Blue Trust advisor, call us at 800.987.2987, or email
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