Much has been said about the large transfer of wealth from baby boomers to their Generation X, Gen Y and millennial children and grandchildren.
But money isn’t all that’s being transferred to the younger generations.
Boomers — particularly those who are downsizing to smaller residences — are also lovingly passing along tons of mementos, such as curio cabinets, lawn ornaments, faded heirlooms and tchotchkes.
Are you handing off your “stuff” to your kids and grandkids, or planning to leave it to them in your will? Perhaps you’ve already made a list of who will get what.
While it may be true that downsizing means you don’t have room for your coffee mug collection, lamps from a bygone era or various knickknacks, don’t assume the younger generations will gladly take and cherish them the way you did. Instead, the odds are they:
• Don’t want your stuff.
• Don’t need it.
• Don’t have room for it.
In fact, though it may be hard for you to accept, chances are they’ll think that many of your hand-me-downs are, well, undesirable. Face it: Your taste is not their taste.
And don’t assume they’ll want it after you give them the backstory: “This was Grandpa’s, and he had it in his house for 50 years!” They might accept it to be polite but have other thoughts about its value.
So, before you say to yourself, “This represents my life, and I need to have it preserved as a legacy for my heirs,” here’s what I suggest: Have an open, candid conversation with your heirs and offer to provide your stuff to them. Here’s what will happen:
• If they want it, they’ll tell you.
• If they don’t want it, either they’ll tell you or you’ll be able to see it in their eyes or through the slowness of their response.
Should the latter be the case, sell what you can at auction or consignment stores, and donate to charitable outlets such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army the items they’ll take.
Then swallow your pride and put the rest out with the trash.