Navigating Inheritance: A Reflective Guide for Millennial Creatives

February 7, 2024

Whether you’re an artist, musician, designer, or any other creative, receiving an inheritance can be an exciting yet challenging frontier. The loss of a loved one and the newfound responsibility of an inheritance can lead us to question everything, from “How do I give meaning to my newfound wealth?” to “What’s the best way to invest my inheritance?” 

In this guide, we’ll cover:

1. How to make space for the complex feelings that often accompany an inheritance

2. The flexible, step-by-step guide to approaching the financial management of your inheritance

By connecting with your emotions, values, and vision, you’ll be well on your way to an aligned financial plan for your inheritance.

Make Space for Your Emotions

Receiving an inheritance can inspire a range of mixed emotions, especially following the death of a loved one. 

Rather than immediately leaping to big financial decisions, it’s wise to make room for these emotions and find vocabulary to articulate your experience. By patiently accepting and exploring your inner emotional landscape, you’ll be better equipped as you approach the financial ins-and-outs of your inheritance. 

While everyone’s personal journey is unique, common feelings that may arise after receiving an inheritance include:

  • Grief and Loss: The passing of a loved one is often the catalyst for an inheritance. The connection between an inheritance and the sense of loss can be profound. 
  • Gratitude Mixed with Shame: Expressing gratitude for the financial gift can be intertwined with feelings of shame. Individuals may question whether they deserve the inheritance.
  • Mixed Emotions About Materialism: Some individuals may grapple with the juxtaposition of grieving a loved one and suddenly acquiring material wealth. Many millennials and creatives struggle with questions about wealth and privilege. This can lead to internal conflicts about the perceived materialism associated with the inheritance.
  • Responsibility and Pressure: Inheriting wealth may bring a sense of responsibility to make wise financial decisions and to honor the wishes of a deceased relative. Feelings of inadequacy, lack or preparation, or misalignment with the values of the deceased can cause this responsibility to feel like pressure.
  • Fear of Mismanagement: There might be apprehension about managing the inherited wealth responsibly. Fear of making financial mistakes or concerns about misusing the funds can be a source of anxiety.
  • Overwhelm and Decision Fatigue: The process of handling an inheritance involves numerous decisions, from legal matters to financial investments. This can lead to overwhelm and decision fatigue as individuals navigate unfamiliar territory.
  • Desire to Honor the Relative’s Legacy: There might be a deep-seated desire to use the inherited assets in a way that honors the values and legacy of the deceased relative. This can present as inspiration, emotional weight, or a mixture of both. 
  • Relief and Financial Security: While emotions often involve grief and complexity, many may find relief and a newfound sense of financial security, knowing that the inheritance provides a cushion for their future.

While it’s important to face your new reality and make decisions, give yourself permission to take time for your emotional wellbeing as you move forward. Understanding and processing these feelings can contribute to a more holistic and balanced approach to managing an inheritance. 

The Creative’s Flexible Guide to Managing an Inheritance

How we live life is our ultimate creative project. We learn the rules, and then we make life our own. Our approach to our finances need be no different. Use this flexible guide as an inspirational reference to help you build your authentic financial future:

1. Reflect on Your Values and Vision

Take time to reflect on your personal, professional, and creative values. What shapes do these visions take? What forms would you like them to take? Connect with your medium- and long-term aspirations to motivate financial decisions that align with your vision for the future.

2. Seek Emotional Support

Share your feelings with trusted friends, family members, or a counselor. Discussing your emotions openly with people you trust can provide valuable perspectives and emotional support, alleviating the burden of navigating this journey alone.

3. Connect with the Legacy

Consider how you wish to express the legacy of the deceased relative through your financial decisions. You can ask yourself, “What aspects of my family legacy resonate with me, and how might I incorporate them into my decisions?” Whether or not you choose to integrate these values into your decision-making, it can be grounding to make this a deliberate reflection. 

4.  Define Your Financial Goals

Clearly articulate your financial goals, both short-term and long-term. Whether it’s investing in creative pursuits, education, securing a comfortable future, or all of the above, having specific goals helps motivate and guide your financial decisions.

5. Find Aligned Financial Support

Engage with financial advisors or planners who approach inheritance both compassionately and practically. A good financial advisor will be interested in your unique experience to help you reach your goals. Seek guidance on investment strategies, tax implications, and long-term financial planning.

6.  Create/Update Your Comprehensive Financial Plan

Develop a holistic financial plan that integrates your inheritance into your overall financial picture. Include budgeting, savings, investments, and debt management, ensuring it aligns with your values and goals.

7. Balance Prudence with Passion

Strike a balance between financial responsibility and investing in projects that bring joy and fulfillment. Allocate funds towards both securing your future and pursuing creative endeavors.

8. Educate Yourself

Take the time to educate yourself about personal finance. Understanding basics like investing, budgeting and taxes, and estate planning empowers you to make informed decisions and feel confident in managing your wealth.

9.  Schedule a Regular Review 

Financial situations and personal goals evolve. Regularly review your financial plan and be open to adjusting it as needed. Flexibility ensures that your financial decisions continue to align with your vision for the future.

Remember, this process is a journey. Reflecting on your personal experience, educating yourself, and connecting with people you trust can help you build a financial legacy that resonates with your unique path.

We’re Here to Be Your Financial Collaborator

As producer Rick Rubin has said, artistic collaboration is at its best when everyone at the table trades ideas and genuinely works together to achieve the best version of a project.

We recognize the unique nature of every creative. We’re here to listen to your ideas and share our guidance to generate a bespoke financial plan that aligns with you.

Connect with Alicia and the SWM Team for an introductory call to see how we can collaborate to create the best version of your financial future. 

Contact Alicia

Singer Wealth Management