The television series juggernaut “Succession” has gripped audiences around the globe, and I confess to being a binger. It’s great viewing but also a case study Hollywood-style on how not to go about preparing the financial legacy for your children. Backstabbing and a sibling dogfight are not a formula for effective family financial planning. And passing the financial baton on to the next generation isn’t just for billionaires, my strong view is that it’s particularly important in the current generational sequence we all find ourselves in.

We live in a society made of the Depression-born Builders, then the Boomers, Gen X,Y, Z and now Alpha. It’s probably the biggest generational divide the world has ever seen, and all are fundamentally different. As an adviser I come into contact with people aged from 21 to 92. For the higher end of those numbers, and I don’t want to sound morbid, the reality is that estate or, if you like, succession planning is a real deal.

It is estimated that in the next 10 to 20 years, $3 trillion will change hands between the generations in Australia. What probably kept the fictitious Logan Roy awake at night was that up to 70% of families could lose their wealth by the second generation and that’s closer to 90% by the third. It’s fair to say the transfer of wealth has historically been done poorly and we still have a long way to go.

Our financial planning horizon tends to be set at retirement: “When can I stop work?” and “Have I got enough super?” Another huge problem here in Australia is that there is a societal shroud of secrecy when it comes to personal finance. We don’t talk about it with each other – only about a third of parents apparently discuss it with their kids – and even if there are discussions they are not backed by action. About half of Australians don’t have a will or estate plan in place.

Many older Australians are clearly under-prepared and, to show I’m not being ageist (by the way I’m 40) so are the children. The reality is that, in general, financial literacy is low through little fault of their own and I remain bewildered and concerned that Financial Planning 101 is not taught in school and first year university.

Those who grew up with internet and mobile phones are also probably more likely to ask Google a financial question than a parent or an adviser, and I have visions (or nightmares) of an “intelligent” robot becoming the go-to adviser when it comes to financial planning.

Perhaps if I’d used an AI chat platform I might have got here sooner, but my takeaway message is that as families, please talk with each other. Sit around the dinner table, but not like the Roy’s, and discuss what lies ahead. It’s almost like having a Family Board, sharing thoughts broadly on money management but also legacy planning including philanthropic wishes. Don’t let the first hint of this be at the reading of a Will.

It is a positive step for all involved and a process that can help educate, inspire and prepare the next generation in money management. Let’s not leave it too late before starting a journey to become financially aware and well organised.

This article was authored by HLB Wealth Financial Adviser, Brendan Bate. He can be contacted at or +61 (0)8 9267 3296.

Brendan Bate (ASIC No. 1272327) and HLB Wealth Pty Ltd (ASIC No. 428645) are Authorised Representatives of Paragem Pty Ltd, ABN 16 108 571 875, AFSL 297276.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article has been provided as general advice only. The contents have been prepared without taking account of your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before you make any decision regarding any information, strategies or products mentioned in this article, you should consult your financial adviser to consider whether that is appropriate having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs.