Australians are relying on an inheritance to buy a home and pay off debt

22 June 2017, SOPHIE ELSWORTH News Corp Australia Network

MANY Australians are relying on an inheritance and are already working out how they will spend it, new figures show.

About 29 per cent of Australians concede they are expecting an inheritance and they intend to spend some or all of it once payday arrives.

Exclusive new figures released by debt solutions agency Fox Symes reveal that 17 per cent of those hoping for a handout once a family member dies will use it to buy a house or pay off their mortgage.

Other ways they plan to spend the money including paying off credit card debts or other forms of debt, buying a new car or paying for school fees.

But Fox Symes’s executive director Deborah Southon said anyone crossing their fingers for an inheritance is putting themselves in a situation that may not eventuate.

“It’s terrifying and really the only person you can rely upon is yourself,’’ she said.

“Parents don’t necessarily disclose their financial situation to their children and there’s certainly the Baby Boomers who are going to indulge themselves.

“Some people also engage in reverse mortgages so they are eating into their property to fund their lifestyle, so you can’t guarantee when your parents die that you are going to be a substantial beneficiary of the estate.”

The research found Generation Y (18-34) are more likely to rely on an inheritance (26 per cent), followed by Generation X (35-49) — 21 per cent) and then Baby Boomers (50-64) 13 per cent.

And while many plan to use an inheritance for costs now, 10 per cent say it will help fund their retirement.

Certified financial planner Patrick Canion said he always asks clients if they are expecting an inheritance because it gives an insight into the family wealth position.

“But don’t rely on them for making a financial plan,’’ he said.

“You don’t know when it’s going to come or ultimately how much it is and so in most cases we treat it as a financial bonus rather than something that we rely on entirely.

“The problem with relying on an inheritance for your financial plan is that so much can change.”

Mr Canion suggests getting advice on intergenerational advance planning and getting an early advance on an inheritance.

“It makes sure for the older person that the right asset goes to the right person and you also get to see the enjoyment it brings,’’ he said.

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