This month ZOE SLATER, Counsellor and CEO of Freedom Choice Academy looks at the effect financial nous and attitude play if or when we inherit money.

Inheritance money is one of those weird life experiences that doesn’t happen for everyone. In fact it’s approximated that only 29% of Australians expect an inheritance says Andrew Dunbar from Wealth Partners.

Receiving an inheritance is certainly not a wealth strategy, but if it’s received as intended, then it can make a world of difference emotionally, mentally and financially.

It’s really about passing on precious pieces that honour relationships and memories and or valuable belongings to make it easier for those left behind.

However, estate divisions can bring up all kinds of emotional responses.

This month I have chosen the top four emotional responses that I have observed;

  • Guilt
  • Greed
  • Relief and
  • Right Choices. 

Money Guilt

‘Someone dies and you get money!’

The thought of profiting when your loved one has just died can feel weird, alien, and just not right. However the fact is either you receive the money and assets or the government will gladly take it.

The thought of your loved one’s belongings being sold can be unsettling. The items or home will no longer be a part of your family to use or visit. This can change rituals and future dreams. Accepting, adapting and flowing with the loss as it unfolds, and grieving properly is important. Don’t get stuck grieving because prolonged grief is becoming a bigger issue.

There are many people who are not able to move on or let go. I’ve seen it ruin families and ultimately steal lives. Sorry, I have digressed away from the money talk but it’s an important message and I say it because I care. I don’t want you losing your life or your family losing you to grief. Okay back to the conversation of ‘Money Guilt’.

‘Money Guilt’ provoked by grief, can shine a light on hidden entanglements into your emotional money issues that could possibly be holding you back.

Here’s a short list of what my clients have mentioned over the years so perhaps you might relate;

  • Feeling guilty or ashamed that you couldn’t earn this kind of money yourself.
  • Guilty that it’s taken someone else’s money to give you financial security and embarrassed about that.
  • Guilty or embarrassed at your inability to manage money or save the money yourself.
  • Guilty or remorseful about your spending habits and the lack of assets you have accumulated.
  • Disgusted that your excited about the money you will be inheriting.

Consider – I want you to know these feelings are normal and do not make you a bad person for having them. Wondering about an inheritance is normal. Some passing feelings of guilt are normal but if the guilt has revealed emotional money issues and patterns like; you’re not good with money, you’re not good enough to have money, you waste every cent you make, then perhaps you have a negative money mind.

It’s wise to deal with it because you’re about to get, potentially lots of money, an opportunity to build wealth not waste wealth. An honest investigation through self-reflection or counselling. Either way the negative money mind will continue to sabotage you if you don’t deal with it. 

Money Greed

Money greed agitates disgruntled relationships, potentially destroying families and friendships.

Money greed is suspicious of an unfair split and commonly withholds heir-looms and precious pieces.

Money greed tries to control or intervene who gets what. It can affect access to the deceased house to choose what you want?

Consider – The deceased person has made a decision regarding their possessions. Whatever you get is a gift.  Show gratitude and humility. What’s best is to honour and follow the wishes of the deceased and their unique relationships with everyone, because heart maths means it’s valued on the relationship. If you’re feeling passed over or ignored, question your motivations and relationship contribution.

If you’re the greedy person, withholding money or heir looms, the truth is that you come from a mindset of lack, are emotionally insecure, immature and you’re angry about something. This behaviour shows people that you’re vengeful and not to be trusted.

Like a child throwing a tantrum, completely self-centred, unable to see it’s about the deceased person wishes not about you. You’re showing everyone the worse side of you, that you lack honesty, compassion and morality regarding money. If you relate to the money greed mind set, I hope you now realise it’s time to let go of the anger and make peace with the deceased, the bereaved and yourself.

If you’re the one feeling excluded and items withheld from you. This is an opportunity to turn your aggressiveness into assertiveness.

Stand up, find your voice, speak your mind, seize this moment. Death is a once off situation that won’t happen again. Lead with your heart and be clear in your mind what you need say and claim.   

Money Relief

Money relief eases money stress which then eases emotional, mental and physical stress. The money relief can be timely, it might save your marriage, your home, your life. Or it might afford you options you had never considered or dreamt possible.

Consider – Firstly don’t be in a rush to spend your inheritance. Realistically your inheritance can take months before you receive it which is a blessing. You get the grace of space to consider your options and not rush into your decision, and instead give consideration to the what choices are best for you. What I urge is that between now and when the money arrives you make a list of what would ease the financial strain and enhance your lifestyle now and in the long term. Live those days as though you have implemented your choices and see which choices gives you short and long term satisfaction.

  • Paying off debts
  • Paying off your home loan
  • Taking a holiday
  • Maintenance around the home
  • Get that degree
  • Start that hobby
  • Reviewing promises you made to the deceased regarding the inheritance.

Some of my clients have wanted to honour the inheritance in some way, like a symbolic statue, grow the deceased favourite tree from the property, buy a holiday artefact and much more.

Once you’ve made this list and before you take action, seek quality financial advice from your accountant, financial planner, a financially savvy friend and a mortgage broker to discuss your loans.

Do not allow yourself to be forced into anything whilst you are grieving, you are still vulnerable and need the grace of space and time to make an informed confident decision.

If you get the money and you can’t trust yourself, perhaps place the money in a cash account until you get the right advise to then make the right choices for you.

Right Money Choices

Making the right money choice is important. I am going to assume you have received great financial advice, and you now feel confident and know what you want to do.

Prioritise your list from most emotionally important to least important. List the most important savings in the same way, list the tax implication considerations in the same way, list what will give you the best lifestyle in the same way, and list short term pains for long term gains.

Consider – Notice what’s important and feels like the best choice for you and double check with your advisers.

The most important point I want you to know is that this money is like winning lotto, this inheritance is a financial boost you may never have again.

All decisions are your accountability and the choices you make rest on your shoulders not someone else’s. Today, in this moment moving forward you are the adult making adult choices with conscious awareness. It’s most likely you will not be able to undo these choices and if you can, it’s likely to cost you money, so don’t be wasteful or whimsical with your inheritance.

Be wise, take your time and get quality advise that you trust.

A Warning;

I have seen many people receive inherited money, waste it and regret it. I have had clients say to me that they have never had a cash relief like this or never seen this much money in their bank account ever. They don’t have a wealth building mindset and are out of their depth. They know this is a leg up opportunity and they want to make a wise money choice.

Remember the person who has just died worked hard for what you’re about to receive. They cannot tell you how to spend it, but I am sure they would hope the inheritance eases financial stress and contribute to you building wealth in some way, to ultimately enhance your life.

The key points are;

  1. Whatever you get is a gift. Show gratitude and humility.
  2. Be wise, take your time and get quality advise that you trust.
  3. Lead with your heart and be clear in your mind your intention.
  4. Your inheritance is like winning lotto, it’s a financial boost you may never get again.
  5. Your making adult choices with conscious awareness.
  6. Sort out your negative money mindset. 

Some extra things to think about!

Let go of your loved one and grieve fully.

MAKE A PACT TO ACT – Practice the art of having money success and I assure you, your life will start heading in the right direction.  Keep those questions coming

If you have any questions or need help or guidance please send me an email, give me a call on M: 0414 778 476 or visit me on Facebook @freedomchoiceacademy.

Zoe is the director of Zoe Slater Counselling and CEO Freedom Choice Academy. She studied at The Australian College of Applied Psychology, Sydney Campus and completed her Diploma of Counselling and Communication at the Brisbane Campus. Zoe is an Associate Member with the Queensland Counsellors Association Inc and a member with Australian Counsellors Association.

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Finance Management Money Stress To Success – Managing An Inheritance