In the Netherlands, the wealthy are more interested in across-the-board well-being than in simply transferring family wealth to their offspring. They use their wealth to enable a particular standard of living, both material and health-wise, while also spending their money on travelling to stunningly exotic destinations. And they expect their children to take responsibility for their own futures and pull their own weight: 59% feel their offspring should build their own fortunes. Any gift-giving typically focuses on specific goals such as education, seed capital for starting a business or money towards a home – all of which create a foundation from which to build an independent future.
These are some of the findings in a survey conducted by Van Lanschot in collaboration with trend-watching agency Extend Limits and market researchers GfK, prompted by Van Lanschot’s new digital wealth planning tool. The tool helps Van Lanschot clients identify their qualitative wealth objectives with their bankers.
The good news for the children of wealthy parents is that ‘across-the-board well-being’ also extends to gifts, as 57% are looking to gift the bulk of their wealth while living. The survey finds that one-quarter of wealthy Dutch parents see their children’s education as a key priority, and think gifts should make a clear contribution to their children’s future lives. Besides education, respondents frequently buy homes for their student children and help out in case of negative equity in a child’s home.
Richard Bruens, Managing Director of Private Banking and a member of the Van Lanschot Board of Managing Directors, comments: “The Dutch do a lot of saving and gifting to their children, and in 2014 took full advantage of the temporary gift scheme of €100,000 towards residential properties, which ended on 1 January 2015.”
Carefree spending of family fortunes is frowned on, however, and 55% of wealthy Dutch parents want their children to learn to handle wealth first. Bruens adds: “Our clients say their children have to develop a sense of responsibility first and need to understand their roles as stewards of the family wealth. They want their children to learn that work and personal development are meaningful and important.”
Charitable giving is a source of pleasure: the number of millionaires planning to gift to charities last year doubled to 24%. And wealthy Dutch men and women are increasingly investing in socially responsible companies, although the majority (60%) also flagged the importance of social returns being reflected in financial terms.
Tony Bosma at trend-watchers Extend Limits says: “We see an increasing awareness that life is about more than just money. Sustainability and social responsibility are no longer just marketing speak, they’ve become basic preconditions: anything we take from our planet, we also need to give back. Life has become more about pursuing personal dreams or bringing them within reach for your loved ones. We’re finding greater fulfilment in giving and sharing.”
Marcel van Dongen, Wealth Structuring Manager at Van Lanschot, observes: “Wealth isn’t just about the numbers – it’s mostly what you want to do with it. People are setting ever greater store by controlled wealth planning that encompasses personal development, social and family values, care for parents and the longer-term future. And we’ve developed a digital tool to get a clearer handle on this, called Scan OverMorgen (‘Scanning for tomorrow’). The tool helps our clients and their bankers clearly identify their personal goals, and we use it to talk about aspirations and timelines. From children studying abroad to charitable giving, we look at what’s financially feasible and how to get there. ‘Only growth’ often isn’t what our clients are looking for; it’s about pursuing what’s meaningful to them.”
As Tony Bosma at Extend Limits explains: "We want specific insight into our own personal situations – plus we want a major say in how our wealth is managed, and so we require flexibility and personal attention from organisations we deal with. There’s an increasing shift within society from casual consumption to conscious living. Wealth planning is all about finding out what really drives us, then organising how we share wealth and well-being. It’s not about managing on figures alone.”