何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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Set up a family fund 精选

已有 3141 次阅读 2019-5-1 20:56 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

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Set up a family fund

My earlier blog article http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=1174951  described being wined, dined, and entertained by our child while visiting Washington DC for three days. This prompted a reader to ask privately via e-mail that did our daughter paid for everything or we paid for the entire trip. My answer is neither our daughter nor us. How come? Let me explain.

For middle class families like us, unless you somehow managed to spend your last penny in the last second of your life, you’ll have something left for your children. This is called your estate or their inheritance. For example, most of us will have owned our home if we lived to a normal old age. This is a significant amount of money given the real estate price these days (As our dear daughter-in-law jokingly said to us one time: “The money you spend are yours, the money in your bank account are ours”.  She was asking us to shed the refugee mentality and enjoy life by spending the money we made ourselves).

Anyhow, my wife said years ago, why wait to give our children their inheritance after our death when we don’t even hear a thank you. We should do so while we are still alive. The question is how to do it and how much to give since we cannot know precisely how long we each will live. It is here we dreamed up a simple, clever, and meaningful solution (we don’t know if we can claim to be original). Here is what we did. We set up a “Family Fund” and endowed it with some money. The rule is that everyone in the family can use the fund to visit with us or with other family members but not with your own family. The idea is to encourage inter-family but not intra-family visits among children, grandchildren, and us. The fund is managed by our three children jointly and except periodically adding money to this Family Fund, we have nothing to say or anything to do with the Family Fund. Putting money in this Family Fund means giving away parts of our estate slowly but ahead of time while we are still alive. Using the fund by member of our family means dipping into their future inheritance. No one have to feel the cost of getting together with the extended family except enjoying each other. We are slowly giving away part of our estate each year without worrying about how much or can we afford to. Everyone comes out feeling a good time. After nearly two decades, we think it is a great solution. This is how our Washington trip was paid for. No one feels that they are using their own money – It is the family money used for family get together. 




http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-1176596.html

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