As we approach an era of significant generational wealth transfer, it’s imperative that we consider not only the financial implications but the moral and spiritual ones as well. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are readying to pass down a monumental $68 trillion to their descendants, a sum amassed through steady market growth, prudent investments, and disciplined savings.
By the year 2030, millennials are forecasted to possess five times their current wealth. The potential impact of this fiscal shift is tremendous, especially for the Christian community. But to direct this wealth towards advancing the Church and global missions depends on the heart of generosity in the generations to come.
Historical Giving Trends Religious organizations have traditionally relied on the generosity of older generations. The combined giving from the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, and the baby boomers have fueled about 78.8% of total church donations. Today, we face a decline in religious donations, from 70% in 1954 to 27% in 2021.
However, there is reason to hope. Younger generations, despite grappling with soaring living costs and significant debt, are categorizing charitable giving as crucial, prioritizing it even over other necessary expenses.
Passing the Baton of Generosity A critical aspect of this generational wealth transfer lies in the intentional passing of Christian values from one generation to the next. The baby boomer generation holds an incredible opportunity to influence future generations not only in wealth but in wisdom and a heart for generosity. Here’s how:
- Involve Your Family Open communication and family discussions are essential for successful wealth planning. Including all stakeholders in the conversations fosters a sense of responsibility and inclusion. Through these dialogues, the older generation can share their faith journey, how God has provided for them, and the guiding principles behind their financial decisions.
- Prepare Your Estate A comprehensive estate plan is more than a mere distribution of wealth; it’s a conduit for passing on vision and values. A well-articulated plan encourages future generations to be generous, embedding a strategic approach to charitable giving. An “ethical will,” though not legally binding, can help convey religious values, beliefs, and personal history, encouraging the younger generation to uphold and expand upon their parent’s generosity.
- Educate and Empower the Next Generation With 63% of U.S. consumers reportedly living paycheck to paycheck, and a staggering 77% in debt, it’s vital to equip the younger generation with financial literacy. This skill is not merely about managing money but understanding the spiritual aspects of stewardship.
Indeed, it’s more than passing on wealth; it’s about casting the mantle of wisdom, stewardship, and generosity. By helping the next generation understand God’s principles regarding money and giving, we allow them to join God’s work globally. As they step into this wealth transfer, let them also step into their calling to transform church giving and practice generous living.