Lessons from Downton Abbey

Lessons from Downton Abbey


As fans of Downton Abbey know all too well, inheritance is an issue that can split families, cause emotional upheaval and require heart-rending decisions.

A glorious stately home may not be at stake for many of us, but the question of inheritance is still a very important, and sometimes difficult, matter.

So it was with interest that I read a recent report suggesting that coming generations will experience an ‘inheritance crash.’

Less money will be handed down from one generation to the next because of poor pensions, rising living costs and increased life expectancy, according to the study from HSBC.

As more people live to be 100 (Britain now has more than 12,600 centenarians and there will be 100,000 in 25 years’ time) they are likely to spend their way through their savings and investments in their final years, leaving little for their children to inherit.

Now that we are forewarned, what steps can young families take to prepare?

  • Think about investment options so that money saved now works as hard as possible for you. Consider expected rates of return and risk assessments.
  • Take retirement planning very seriously, even if the day you hang up your business suit for the last time seems far off.
  • Consult an adviser about the right options depending on your personal case: your age, your commitments (school fees, mortgage…)
  • Don’t just choose a pension fund and forget it. Make sure you get ongoing advice as markets and circumstances change.
  • Write a Will and act to minimise inheritance tax.

An independent financial adviser will be able to give qualified, unbiased advice.