• A 68-year-old government employee in Canada is already passing his wealth on to his adult children.
  • He said he's set for retirement and wants to help out his kids in their financially demanding years.
  • He's part of a trend of baby boomers who are proactively passing their wealth down to their kids.

MJ, a 68-year-old government employee in Alberta, Canada, has already started passing on his wealth to his four adult kids, even though he's still six months away from retirement and plans to live to a "ripe old age."

MJ, who asked to go by initials for privacy reasons, told Business Insider his mindset shifted a few years ago when he read the 2020 book "Die with Zero" by Bill Perkins.

"The book stresses kids typically will need help from late twenties to 40, when they're dealing with house down payments and mortgages and kids and all of those things that go along with life," he said. "That's when they could really use the help."

MJ's kids include two of his own and two stepchildren, all aged between 35 to 46. The past couple years he has given each of the children $5,000 a piece, typically in a lump sum payment at the end of the year, plus an additional $1,000 for each grandkid.

He's among a growing cohort of boomers who are passing on their wealth at an earlier stage in life, financial planners previously told BI. The proactive inheritance trend comes as millennials, in particular, have higher rates of debt and lower rates of home ownership than their parents did at the same age — and as boomers are set to pass on trillions of dollars in assets.

"We consider inheritances and money from families a gift of love," Gideon Drucker, president and financial planner at Drucker Wealth, previously told BI. "If your intention is to give that money to family as an inheritance, you probably want that money put to best use for the maximum amount of time that creates the most peace of mind for everybody involved."

MJ said he inherited a small amount of money when his father died, but at that point, he was financially comfortable and didn't really need the help. Similarly, he said if he waited until he died to pass on money to his own kids, they'd likely be in their 50s or 60s by then and may not need it.

After reading "Die With Zero," MJ took a look at his finances. He realized that between his savings, the pensions he expects to receive after retirement, and some investments in the market that have paid off well in recent years, he was set to have a more than comfortable retirement — and still have plenty left over.

He said he and his wife own their home, their vehicles, and a trailer they take camping. They have low expenses, don't have extravagant taste, and are still able to travel regularly.

He also considered the tax rates he pays on the income he makes from his investments and thought that money might be better off just going to his kids now.

"Let them pay off debt and not pay interest, and maybe that will help them out a little bit more now than it would getting a little handout 20 years, 30 years down the road," he said.

The money he gifts to his kids comes with no strings attached — they are free to spend it how they see fit. For some, that's covering basic living expenses. For others, it's helping pay off their mortgage.

"I think the biggest thing is to treat them like adults," he said. "They're going to have to manage their own money the rest of their lives. Here's an opportunity."

MJ said once he's actually retired and has a better handle on his cash flow, he will likely increase the amount he gifts them each year.

He said if someone is considering gifting their kids early inheritances, the key thing is to have a firm grasp on their own finances first.

"I've seen people who have drained their bank accounts helping unappreciative kids to end up virtually destitute, and I don't think anybody should be doing that," he said.

Drucker, the financial planner, previously told BI that it can be a good idea for someone to pass money down to their kids early only if they have their own finances well planned, are financially independent, and have enough money to support their own needs without being at risk of running out.

MJ said he has also spent a lot of time studying Warren Buffett, who is among billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg who do not plan to leave their entire fortune to their children. In a note to shareholders in 2021, Buffet gave this recommendation to ultrawealthy families: "Leave the children enough so that they can do anything but not enough that they can do nothing."

MJ said he has a similar mindset and that he is not worried about spoiling his children.

"I'm not going to put them all into retirement with what I'm leaving them. All I'm going to be doing is making their life a little bit more comfortable," he said. "And I love them and care about them, and I'm glad that I can do that."

Have a news tip or a story to share about passing down wealth? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider