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Building Generational Wealth: What It is and How to Pass It On


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Have you ever wondered how people born into wealth seem to have had everything given to them since birth? What many people quickly forget is the sacrifice and hard work that the family’s forebears went through to create that lifestyle and privilege.

Attaining wealth is one thing; maintaining it so that future generations can enjoy its benefits is another. The hard reality is that 70 percent of wealthy families may lose all of their wealth by the third generation.

In this article, we’ll explore generational wealth—what it is, why it’s important, and how to build it.

Key Takeaways

  • Building generational wealth involves creating and preserving financial resources to pass down to future generations.
  • Examples of generational wealth include real estate holdings, business succession, and investment portfolios.
  • Life insurance can contribute to generational wealth by providing financial protection and potential cash value accumulation.
  • Books like “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” “Think and Grow Rich,” “The Millionaire Next Door,” and “The Simple Path to Wealth” offer valuable insights and guidance on building generational wealth.

What is Generational Wealth?

Much of generational wealth is about accumulated assets, investments, and financial resources that are handed down from one generation to the next.

Indeed, whenever someone mentions “generational wealth,” they usually mean valuable items that are passed down from one generation to the next. These resources might range from money to real estate, artwork to investments, and even ownership interests in family enterprises.

It’s tantamount to laying a solid financial foundation for the future of the forthcoming generation. Thereby opening up doors to better education, business opportunities, and improved quality of life.

Families that aim to amass generational riches have some options to explore. Learning about finances, building companies, and investing and saving funds all fall within the realm of possibilities. It is also crucial for families to nurture an atmosphere where fiscal accountability is valued.

Thus, accumulating wealth for generations to come calls for careful planning and patience. It is a gradual process that demands unwavering commitment.

Yet the rewards of generating sustainable wealth cannot be overstated. Families that work toward building generational wealth not only secure a brighter future for themselves but also for their offspring.

Examples of Generational Wealth

Let’s look at the realm of generational wealth by examining real-life examples that vividly illustrate its transformative power. These examples will showcase how individuals and families have successfully built and preserved wealth over generations. Thereby creating lasting legacies for their loved ones.

Real Estate Holdings

Owning properties that appreciate in value over time can be a significant source of generational wealth. Rental properties, commercial buildings, and family homes are examples of assets that can appreciate and generate income for future generations.

Business Succession

Establishing a successful family business and passing it down through generations can create substantial wealth. By nurturing and expanding the business over time, each generation can benefit from its profitability and build upon its success.

Investment Portfolios

Smart investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other financial instruments can grow wealth exponentially over time. By carefully diversifying investments and leveraging compounding returns, families can build significant generational wealth.

Recent technological advances have also provided access to new asset classes like cryptocurrencies. Its attributes of storing and transferring value without the involvement of third parties can make this digital currency an effective instrument for building wealth across generations.

Yet, it is crucial to remember that cryptocurrencies are a new and unstable asset class, and there is no assurance that their value will increase in the future.

Why is Generational Wealth Important?

Generational wealth holds immense importance for several reasons:

Economic Security: It provides financial stability, reducing the risk of poverty or financial hardships for future generations.

Opportunity Creation: Generational wealth opens doors to better educational opportunities, business ventures, and overall prosperity.

Legacy Preservation: It allows families to preserve their values, traditions, and achievements, passing them on to future generations.

Breaking the Cycle: Building generational wealth empowers families to break free from cycles of poverty and create a solid foundation for future success.

As the above rationales suggest, generational wealth is a powerful tool for improving families’ lives. It helps guarantee a brighter future for themselves and their offspring by providing a substantial financial cushion against uncertainty and creating opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.

How Much is Generational Wealth?

The concept of generational wealth cannot be confined to a precise monetary value. It fluctuates according to personal situations, fiscal objectives, and living expenses.

It encompasses a spectrum spanning from hundreds of thousands to millions or even billions of dollars. The crux of the matter lies in fashioning a significant fiscal buffer capable of supporting succeeding generations and endowing them with avenues for advancement and opportunities.

However, generational wealth has a double-edged aspect as it can contribute to inequality. Families with such wealth can easily amass more, while those without might face difficulty in doing so. Hence, a disparity arises between the rich and poor, causing a wider margin.

How to Build Generational Wealth:

Building generational wealth requires a good amount of determination, sacrifice, and a sprinkling of luck. Below is a list of practical steps and strategies one can adopt to achieve this goal:

  • Spend Your Money Wisely: Practice disciplined spending habits, prioritize essential expenses, and avoid unnecessary debt.
  • Pay Yourself First: Set aside a portion of your income for savings and investments before allocating funds for other expenses.
  • Pay Off Debt: Reduce and eliminate high-interest debts to free up more money for wealth-building activities.
  • Invest in the Stock Market: Educate yourself about stock market investing and consider long-term, diversified investment strategies to grow your wealth.
  • Invest in Your Children’s Education: Plan for your children’s future by investing in their education funds, such as Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) in Canada.
  • Increase Your Income: Seek opportunities to enhance your earning potential through career advancements, additional qualifications, or entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Generate Passive Income: Explore avenues for passive income, such as rental properties, dividend-paying stocks, or royalties from intellectual property.
  • Build a Business to Pass Down: Establish a profitable business that can be handed down to future generations, ensuring ongoing wealth creation.

By following the practical steps and strategies outlined above, you can set yourself on the path to achieving this goal. Always remember that the journey towards generational wealth demands dedication and persistence, but the rewards can truly be life-changing.

How to Build Generational Wealth with Life Insurance:

Life insurance can play a vital role in building generational wealth by providing financial protection and creating a legacy for your loved ones. Here are some strategies to consider:

Choose the Right Policy: Select a life insurance policy that aligns with your financial goals. Term life insurance offers coverage for a specific period, while permanent life insurance provides lifelong protection and potential cash value accumulation.

Ensure Sufficient Coverage: Calculate the coverage amount based on your family’s financial needs, including future expenses, outstanding debts, education costs, and income replacement. Adequate coverage ensures that your loved ones are financially secure even in your absence.

Consider Whole Life Insurance: Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that offers both a death benefit and a cash value component. The cash value grows over time and can be accessed during your lifetime, providing a source of savings and potential investment.

Utilize Cash Value: The cash value accumulated in a whole life insurance policy can be utilized in several ways. You can borrow against the cash value for various purposes, such as funding education, starting a business, or supplementing retirement income. However, it’s important to consider the impact on the policy’s death benefit and consult with a financial advisor.

Establish a Family Trust: Setting up a family trust and making it the beneficiary of your life insurance policy can help protect the wealth and ensure it is managed according to your wishes. A trust can provide long-term financial stability for your beneficiaries and safeguard the generational wealth you’ve built.

Review and Update Regularly: Life insurance needs may change over time due to factors like marriage, divorce, birth of children, or significant financial changes. Regularly review your policy to ensure it aligns with your current circumstances and adjust the coverage amount if necessary.

The characteristics of life insurance make it a particularly efficient tool to build wealth for future generations. With life insurance, you can make sure that your family’s legacy and aspirations are protected against risks like taxation, market turbulence, and an overall decline in personal health.

Families are empowered to appreciate their wealth since it provides a highly predictable sum in an otherwise uncertain environment, free from worries about providing enough support for loved ones.

Books on Building Generational Wealth:

One key habit of the rich that is not given enough attention is reading. There is a particular reason why wealthy people read so much: money is hidden in the books they read in terms of gaining the “knowledge advantage.”

There are an abundance of books about attaining wealth, each with its own unique perspective and approach. The following are a few examples that we recommend:

  • Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki: This bestselling book explores the mindset and strategies needed to build wealth and achieve financial independence.
  • Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill: This classic book delves into the principles of success and wealth creation, providing practical steps to transform your mindset and achieve financial abundance.
  • The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko: This book examines the common characteristics and habits of wealthy individuals, offering insights on how to accumulate wealth and live frugally.
  • The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins: Focusing on investing and financial independence, this book provides guidance on building wealth through a straightforward and sustainable approach.

These are only a few of the many remarkable books that tackle the topic of attaining wealth. The best book for you will depend on your individual circumstances and goals. But all of these books can provide you with valuable insights and tips that can aid you on your journey to financial affluence.


How much money is considered generational wealth?

Generational wealth cannot be confined to a specific dollar amount. Because it varies based on individual circumstances. Thus, it can range from hundreds of thousands to millions or even billions of dollars, depending on factors such as financial goals, the cost of living, and the desired level of financial security for future generations.

What are the four pillars of generational wealth?

The four pillars of generational wealth typically include:

a. Financial Education: Equipping oneself and future generations with knowledge about personal finance, investing, and wealth management.

b. Saving and Investing: Cultivating disciplined saving habits and investing in assets that appreciate over time, such as stocks, real estate, and businesses.

c. Entrepreneurship: Building and growing businesses that generate sustainable income and can be passed down to future generations.

d. Legacy Planning: Establishing proper estate planning strategies, including trusts, wills, and life insurance, to protect and transfer wealth efficiently.

What is the most common form of generational wealth?

Real estate is often considered one of the most common forms of generational wealth. Owning properties that appreciate in value over time and generate rental income can provide a stable source of wealth. Eventually, passing it down to the next generation is the next logical step.

What generation will inherit the most money?

The transfer of wealth varies depending on individual circumstances, but it is projected that the millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1996) will inherit the most money.

As the baby boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) passes on their wealth to their heirs, it is estimated that trillions of dollars will be transferred to younger generations in the coming decades.


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Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

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