Millennials in B.C Might Be in for a Nasty Surprise When it Comes to Their Inheritance

Here’s a cheery mid-week story for all you West Coast millennials out there.

That big fat cheque you were banking on from your inheritance? Well, it may not have quite as many zeros on the end as you were expecting. According to a new study by credit union Vancity, 39 per cent of Vancouverites between 18 and 34 years old are anticipating a legacy of over $300,000.

But that isn’t quite what your mother and father had in mind.

Only 12 per cent of parents in the Metro Vancouver area are planning on leaving their kids that much money. In fact, 66 per cent of parents from British Columbia were estimating leaving around $100,000 or less to each of their children.

So if you were planning on being bankrolled by the old folks, you’d better think again.

And though $100k could hardly be described as a pittance, the expectation that parents should have three times as much as this set aside for each of their kids suggests that many of us millennials need a cold, hard dose of reality.

We can hardly blame older generations for calling us entitled, can we?

And it’s not because we’re all tip-toeing around this sensitive topic – the study showed that almost half (47 per cent) of parents have spoken with their children about a potential inheritance. So perhaps some millennials assumed mom and dad were just low-balling when they gave us a rough idea of how much they were leaving us.

Or maybe, since the average resident of the province who reaches 65 can look forward to an extra 21.55 years, the baby boomers we thought would be our saviours are suddenly taking more holidays and enjoying their golden years – and spending all of “our” inheritance money in the process.

As it stands, 60 per cent of parents say they are already passing money to their children before death, helping with down payments on cars and houses, and assisting in paying off student loans or debt.

So to expect a windfall after the ‘bank of mom and dad’ has been so kind to us in their lifetime is perhaps a little hopeful. And while it’s true that the price of homes in the region have rocketed in recent years, the leap in expectation is pretty assumptive.

In 2012 the average inheritance was $137,800, with the median a mere $50,000. So if the vast majority of inheritances were well below $100k, it’s still not reasonable for us to expect three times that in 2016.

Vancity encourages establishing a clear dialogue between parents and children to avoid such a huge disconnect in expectation. Or maybe we should all start taking responsibility for our own futures and consider any help from our parents a lovely bonus if and when it comes.