In today’s world, discussions about financial success often revolve around immediate gratification and personal gain. However, as Christians, we are called to consider the bigger picture. How can the financial decisions we make today impact the well-being of future generations?
While generational wealth may be a hot topic, it is rarely a reality. That is because money is only half of the equation. The other half involves teaching the next generation how to steward and multiply their inheritance after they receive it.
Figures from GOBankingRates show that a staggering 70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the next generation, with 90% losing it the generation after that.
So, this blog post explores:
- What is generational wealth?
- How much do you need for generational wealth
- Why generational wealth is important
- 7 steps for how to build generational wealth
What is Generational Wealth?
Generational wealth refers to the financial assets, investments, and resources passed down from generation to generation. It involves creating a lasting legacy that benefits your descendants and allows them to thrive. In a Christian context, generational wealth goes beyond material possessions. It encompasses the values, faith, and wisdom you pass on to the next generation.
Building lasting wealth involves creating a plan for how it will be transferred, passed to, and stewarded by the next generation. You do not need a high-income or a multimillion-dollar investment portfolio to build generational wealth. Instead, you can leave a lasting legacy through wise, consistent financial habits that leverage the power of compound interest.
How Much Do You Need for Generational Wealth?
Generational wealth will look different for every family because every family will define wealth differently. For some, generational wealth looks like having enough money to pay for their children’s and grandchildren’s education. Others will feel like they have obtained generational wealth when they have a thriving family business.
Contrary to popular belief, generational wealth has less to do with how much money you have and more with how you pass it down.
Let’s look at two examples:
Couple #1 has done very well in the stock market. In addition, the wife was a doctor, and the husband was a lawyer. They both saved a good chunk of their income throughout their careers and have healthy retirement packages. They pass down 10 million dollars to their children and grandchildren but do not teach them how to steward the money or make more of it.
On the other hand, Couple #2 has a modest real estate portfolio. They invested wisely, so each property appreciates in value and provides at least $300 of cash flow each month. They don’t pass down cash to their heirs; instead, they put the properties in their name and show them how to build wealth through real estate.
Most likely, Couple #1’s wealth will be lost in one generation. Even though the $10 million figure is nice and shiny, it did not create generational wealth because their heirs were not taught what to do with their shares.
On the other hand, Couple #2’s heirs will apply their investing knowledge and multiply their inheritance. With each generation, they will pass down more knowledge and more wealth. This is what it means to leave a lasting legacy.
So, how much do you need for generational wealth? The answer has less to do with a dollar amount and more to do with two things:
- Passing down appreciating, income-producing assets
- Teaching the next generation how to steward those assets well
Why is Generational Wealth Important?
Generational wealth empowers you to care for the people you care about the most. It offers financial security to your descendants, which reduces their stress and dependence on external sources. In other words, it frees them up so they do not have to be a slave to money! Instead, you can help them pursue their education, God-given dreams, and passions without the burden of financial instability.
There is nothing quite as gratifying as leaving a legacy. Anyone who has held their newborn baby or grandchild in their arms knows that is true. God works through generations, and he cares about your lineage. When God created you, He didn’t just see you– He saw every person your life would impact, too.
God gives generational promises like he did for Abraham in Genesis 15:3-6 (NLT):
“Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
God also promised to give Abraham land and to make his name great. Similarly, God has a promise for you and your descendants. Our job is to have the faith to receive it.
How to Build Generational Wealth
1. Hold a Family Meeting
“Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)
A family meeting is a great way to get on the same page about what you want to do, the results you want to see, and the impact you want to have. Dream big and write down the vision of what generational wealth can look like in your family.
2. Create a Strong Financial Plan & Partner with God
“Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV)
Set clear financial goals and create a budget that aligns with your values and long-term vision for your family. Bring God into the conversations and decisions. He wants to be a part of everything you do and give you insight on how to succeed.
3. Invest Wisely
“Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” Ecclesiastes 11:2 (NIV)
While retirement funds are a great piece of the puzzle, they cannot be your only piece. If they are, you will never learn how to invest money yourself, so you will never be able to teach the next generation. Plus, it severely handcuffs your earning potential.
Have a strong mix of appreciating, income-producing assets like dividend stocks, real estate, and businesses that have the potential for long-term growth. Seek advice from Christian financial advisors and coaches who share your values. Do your homework to avoid investments and banking institutions that contribute to anti-biblical causes.
4. Estate Planning
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18
Estate planning is a way to invest in your children’s and grandchildren’s future actively. Pro-tip: start this as soon as possible. Create a comprehensive estate plan that includes wills, trusts, and directives, ensuring a smooth transition of assets and values to the next generation.
5. Teach Financial Literacy
“Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6
We cannot stress this enough– one of the most essential components of generational wealth is encouraging, modeling, and teaching the next generation about finances. Educate your children and grandchildren about money management, budgeting, investing, and tithing and giving. Share financial books, courses, and podcasts with them, and bring them to conferences and events to expand their perspective.
6. Embrace Stewardship
“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” Psalm 24:1
Everything we have belongs to God, and we are stewards of His resources. Practice responsible stewardship by managing your finances with integrity. Tithe, give first fruits, and ask God to show you His will for your finances in any given season.
7. Give Back
“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
Remember, the whole purpose of making money is to make a difference! Use your finances to further the Kingdom of God by giving generously and choosing biblically responsible investments. Teach your family the importance of giving back to the community and supporting those in need.