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8 Reasons You're Not Getting an Inheritance

They say the world doesn't owe you anything, and apparently, neither do they. If you've been expecting that dear old mom and dad (or gran and gramps) are going to leave you everything they have upon their sad passing, you may end up with a steaming pile of nothing. So if you've been hoping that they'll be your way out of debt, you may want to review the cold, hard facts:

1. People are living longer.
Yay! I mean, it's not like you want your relatives to kick it so you can squander their life savings. What it really means, though, is that they need their own money and they have to make it last a lot longer than retirees before them had to.

2.Social Security and Medicare are changing.
And not for the better! If Social Security is around much longer, it’s certainly not something that most people can sustain themselves on, though many try.

3. Pensions have all but disappeared.
There are very few of them floating around, and these used to be the big bucks for folks retiring. Nowadays, retirees are relying on the stock market and all the ups and downs that come with it.

4. Healthcare is a killer…financially, that is.

Estimates show this number is fast approaching seven figures for the average retired couple. Yikes!

5. Divorce will eat your inheritance long before you even know you had one.
Splitting up is hard to do. Passing on money when you’ve split up is even harder.

6. Home equities are becoming common money drains.
Hopefully they did a home equity and can pass that on to you. If they did a reverse mortgage, well, it looks like you’re left with nothing but fond memories.

7. Life insurance isn’t a guarantee.

Did you know that you can sell your life insurance to the highest bidder? They pay a portion up front – much like a loan – and then collect when the person dies. It seems rather morbid, but there you have it.

8. People help their kids financially before they die these days.
As drastic changes in the economy over the last several decades have caused people to lose money and other financial holdings, their boomer parents have had to bail them out. Guess what, that was your inheritance money. Hope you enjoyed spending it on rent and beer...uh...groceries.

Do you expect to get an inheritance from your parents? How else can you reduce your debt? [NY Times]

Posted: 6/23/08