Millennials face challenges dealing with inheritance

Shawnette Fraser of TD Canada Trust says its important to remember that there are emotions at play

Shawnette Fraser is district vice-president of Calgary North for TD Canada Trust.

Shawnette Fraser

How big of a market is the millennial generation these days for Canadian financial institutions?

Fraser: Millennials make up a large portion of our population, and as customer service-based business we need to be looking to how we can best support them in their financial goals. This includes bringing our services to them.

Even beyond millennials, Canadians are becoming more tech savvy and want services available at their fingertips. That’s why TD offers our services online, we have instant chat features to give advice, as well as text services. The more readily available we can make ourselves to the fast-paced lifestyles of our friends, neighbours and customers, the more successful we will all be.

How prepared is this generation to deal with their inheritances?

Fraser: TD commissioned a survey that found 83 per cent of millennials who have received or who anticipate receiving an inheritance feel confident in their ability to manage their inheritance, while nearly half (46 per cent) of those who have already inherited wish they had sought professional advice on how to manage their new-found wealth.

What this says to us is that although some people feel they’re prepared to manage an inheritance, reality is often different. An inheritance can be difficult, and it also comes in the wave of great loss. So having expert advice and a trusted adviser to help show you your financial options can be a great support in a difficult time.

What advice would you give someone who just came into an inheritance?

Fraser: Take a minute and pause. I think we often get caught up in talking about inheritance as a strictly financial topic, but this is also tied to the loss of a life, and often one of a close family member. So it’s important to take some time to mourn your loss.

Then make an appointment to see a financial adviser or set up a call to discuss initial options. Inheritances aren’t always clear cut, and an adviser can help you understand your new wealth and how to integrate it into your own financial goals.

Some quick tips would be:

  • regardless of the value of your inheritance, prioritizing spending can help maximize its impact when it comes to meeting your long-term goals, and tackling existing commitments and debt is a great place to start;
  • receiving an inheritance can be a wakeup call for yourself;
  • creating your own estate plan can help you to minimize costs and taxes, and help you to maximize your wealth.

What should millennials do if they receive property as an inheritance?

Fraser: Property can be assessed in many ways. Overall, the property and its future costs need to be considered. How do these costs factor into your overall financial goals? An adviser can help you understand the value of the property and how it can work to support your financial health whether that’s through maintaining and keeping it, renting or selling.

It’s also understood that many inherited properties have significant emotional value and this can also be weighed into a final decision.

Is there a need in this country for better financial literacy?

Fraser: I think there’s always room for improvement in financial literacy and small steps we can take to learn more about our own finances every day. For example, a simple budget and goals can go a long way to making your money work for you. Then working with an adviser to make those dollars go further with investments and a better understanding of how to consolidate debt, and various savings strategies.

I’m not saying everyone needs to be a finance professional, that’s what TD is here for. We want to help you reach your financial goals – and hopefully you will learn a thing or two along the way.

– Mario Toneguzzi

millennials inheritance

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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