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Younger generations choose cash over collections

For many individuals in their 70s, 80s and 90s; the memories of growing up during a time of great economic depression has stayed with them their entire lives. For these individuals, belongings as a child were often few. As these men and women aged, however, many acquired vast collections and heirlooms that became prized possessions. For younger generations, inheriting the possessions of past generations poses a real dilemma.

As individuals who grew up during the great depression move to nursing homes or pass away, younger family members often grapple with what to do with the fine china and doll collections. While previously prized possessions, such heirlooms hold little sentimental or monetary value for heirs who inherit such them.

Today, individuals in their 20s, 30s and 40s often don't have the space or desire to house large formal dining room sets or collections of antiques. In contrast to former generations who valued certain belongings and heirlooms, younger generations tend to value experience over physical belongings. As such, most would much rather inherit money and travel or use inherited assets to make their own memories.

As more family heirlooms flood the marketplace, the value of such belongs has greatly decreased. A cottage industry has sprung up to aid family members in sorting through grandma's or mom's prized collections to determine what is and is not of value and importance.

While the shift in perception of what is and is not of value is interesting and worth noting, for many, specific memories associated with belongs often carry the most value. Individuals who plan to leave possessions to future generations would be wise to have discussions related to why such possessions are important and of value.

Source: Star Tribune, "No longer saved for generations, family heirlooms are being shed," Kim Palmer, April 22, 2013

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