The Great Generational Wealth Transfer is happening now. Between 2016 and 2026, Canadians can expect to see the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history. Approximately $1 trillion in personal wealth will be transferred from one generation to the next (from The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers to Generation X and Millennials, to be exact).

But what does this mean? How can you ensure your family is taken care of for generations to come? And how does generational wealth fit into the rest of your estate and retirement planning?

We’ll cover these questions and more in this in-depth look into generational wealth.

What is generational wealth?

Generational wealth—sometimes referred to as legacy wealth or family wealth—is financial assets that are passed down from one generation to the next. For example, from you, to your children, to their children, and so on. Generational wealth can include real estate property, money, investments, stocks, bonds, family businesses, or anything that has a monetary value. 

What is generational wealth transfer?

The term general wealth transfer simply refers to the act of transferring generational wealth (i.e. money, property, etc.) to your children or grandchildren. With proper generational wealth planning and management, wealth can be passed down for many generations within your family.

Why is generational wealth important? 

Generational wealth is important because it can offer a significant financial advantage to your family. For example, if your children or grandchildren received a financial advantage early on in their life, this could help them pay for their university or college education alleviating the need for student loan debt, or be used for a down payment on a home. This creates a significant advantage to young adults starting their life in the real world. 

Having a will in place ensures that your generational wealth is distributed and handled the way you intended. Online wills are the easiest way to do so. Start today →

How much money is considered generational wealth?

For any amount of wealth to be considered generational wealth, it simply has to be passed down by at least one generation; however, there is no definitive number that constitutes generational wealth because wealth is relative. The amount of passed-down family wealth all depends on the recipients and how it is used.  

For example, if you received $1 million dollars in generational wealth but only need $250,000 to live comfortably for the remainder of your life, the million would be more than enough to be considered generational wealth and could continue to be passed down to your future generations. On the other hand, if you inherited $1 million dollars but spent it all within your lifetime, the money would not go further than one generation.

During a poll conducted by IPC Private Wealth of Investment Planning Counsel, one in five affluent Canadians said they fear their children will not have anything to pass down to their own children. Reasons for their concern include high cost of living, lack of financial knowledge, splurge spending, and losing their inheritance due to divorce.

Building generational wealth that can be passed down from generation to generation requires a large amount of wealth, strategic financial and estate planning, as well as financially responsible spending by those who inherit it. 

Finding a reputable financial advisor is usually important when handling your estate. Find out exactly when having a financial advisor is important for estate planning. → 

Creating generational wealth: How does it accumulate?

You can accumulate generational wealth acquiring assets, investing in assets that produce wealth, or simply by saving money that you don't intend to spend during your retirement, with the intention of passing it down to your future generations. 

There are many ways to build generational wealth. Here are some of the top methods:

How to build generational wealth 

The following are simple strategies you can use to start building generational wealth for your family and loved ones. 

  1. Save money
  2. Invest in real estate 
  3. Invest in the stock market
  4. Start a family business
  5. Take out life insurance

1. Save money

Saving money is one of the simplest ways to generate wealth. By moving money into a savings account and setting it aside for the next generation, the money will be designated for that purpose and carried out with that intention. 

Be mindful, however, that putting money away into a savings account does not guarantee the greatest return. Inflation will always play a role in determining generational wealth as well; the value of $1 today will not be the same value in five years. That’s why it is important to always ensure your savings are generating high interest to secure your family’s financial future.

2. Invest in real estate 

Investing in real estate is a common way to create generational wealth. This can include a single investment property or multiple investment properties. Your real estate portfolio can be used to build your estate plan when deciding how to distribute your wealth to future generations. And although real estate values can fluctuate from time to time due to the market, it is still one of the best methods to build and maintain generational wealth. 

3. Invest in the stock market

Stock market investments such as index funds are a fanatics way to generate passive income to protect long-term wealth from inflation. A mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) are perfect examples of investment funds within the stock market that can build generational wealth that can be passed down to your family members.

4. Start a family business

The securities or ownership of a family business can be included in generational wealth. Where there is a successful business to pass down there are often financial and career advantages. Family businesses offer a means of ongoing income, revenue, and money as well as career opportunities that would not otherwise be available to someone outside of the family. 

5. Take out life insurance

Life insurance can help you pass down wealth for your family and maximize the amount of wealth that is passed down. There are several tax advantages to having life insurance since no estate taxes are owed on life insurance and life insurance policies are not counted as part of an estate and therefore are not taxed by the federal government.

The benefits of life insurance are that there is more money to pass down to your heirs and it minimizes your estate taxes. Life insurance can also help provide financial support for dependents in the event of an untimely death.

End-of-life discussions with your family are important. Get the Guide To Discussing End-Of-Life Wishes With Family →

How does generational wealth fit into estate planning?

Did you know that 58% of affluent Canadians have not discussed instructions for their estate with their heirs? In order to distribute any accumulated generational wealth, this will need to be clearly determined as part of your estate planning. To pass down generational wealth, you will need a legal will, a trust, and named beneficiaries.

Of the many reasons you should have a will, having full control over the wealth you leave your family for generations to come is one of the most important. While finalizing the details of your last will and testament, a trust fund (or trust funds) should be set up as part of your estate planning. Assets placed within a trust avoid probate and certain taxes, further maximizing the wealth passed down to the named beneficiaries within your family.

Take full control over your generational wealth

Once you have generated enough wealth to secure your family’s financial future, it is imperative that you include the details of this wealth within a last will and testament to ensure it is properly handled and distributed. Creating a legal will has never been easier and can even be done online. 

Start for free and begin your will today.  

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