Should You Leave Your Kids Money? This Expert Says Not To

Girl doing homework and contemplating with father.
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Tom Hegna says there is a better way to give your children an inheritance than leaving them money: Use life insurance. Hegna is an author, speaker and retirement expert. As a former first vice president at New York Life, retired lieutenant colonel and economist, Hegna has delivered over 5,000 seminars on his signature “Paychecks and Playchecks” retirement approach, helping seniors retire the “optimal” way. He has condensed a large chunk of his considerable knowledge into four books.

Hegna specializes in creating simple and powerful retirement solutions. He has the unique ability to pump up a crowd, make people laugh and solve complex financial problems with expert tact using easy-to-understand words, ideas and stories. He’s been featured in Business, Forbes, Money Rates and many other leading financial publications.

Click to find out how this expert manages his own retirement planning.

What is your money mantra?

Don’t worry, retire happy.

Before achieving financial success, what was your biggest obstacle? How did you overcome it?

My entire life I have been money-conscious. When I was a little boy growing up in Glenwood, Minn., I started delivering the Minnesota Star Tribune. If I wanted to go to a NorthStars game, I had to sell more subscriptions. If I wanted to buy a new bike [or a] new baseball glove, it was my responsibility. My parents were always very supportive, but they were teachers and didn’t make a lot of money. When they retired, I really understood how important income in retirement can be.

Make Your Money Work for You

What advice would you give your younger self about money?

Invest in the market and lock in gains by purchasing income. Once you have your basic expenses covered with income, buy more.

What is the best piece of advice you received along your financial journey?

Don’t leave your kids any money. Leave them life insurance. You worked hard your entire career and you deserve to enjoy it. Set aside a life insurance policy to establish a legacy, and then spend your money. Don’t live a “just in case” retirement.

What is the best thing you did to boost your retirement savings?

Everyone thinks retirement is all about your “number.” The more you have saved, the better; the bigger your piece of pie, the better. Retirement has nothing to do with assets — it has everything to do with income. Cover your basic expenses in retirement with some form of guaranteed lifetime income.

Click to read more about the Best Money Experts.

About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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