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Wealthy Aussie Boomer couple branded 'evil' over new SKI money trend

Leanne and Leon Ryland are enjoying the fruits of their labour in retirement, but that's caused outrage amongst some Aussies.

Leanne and Leon Ryland next to their son Alex
Leanne and Leon Ryland explained how they are spending their sons' inheritance while they can. (Source: SBS)

An Aussie couple has revealed how they're spending big during their retirement and it's sparked backlash from some who believe they should be giving that money to their sons. Leanne and Leon Ryland scrimped and saved during their working years and now they're living the high life while they've got time.

They told SBS Insight they are part of an emerging trend called Spend your Kids' Inheritance (SKI), which goes against the traditional method of squirrelling away your money to pass down to future generations. Leanne said they've had to change their saving mindset in retirement so they can enjoy all their hard work.

"We've done all the right things by investing in property, boosting up our super making sure that was healthy, going without a lot of things," she said on the programme.

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“We’re not going be able to spend all this money so let’s do it because in another 10 years we won’t be climbing the Great Wall of China. We won’t be going up Machu Picchu,” she said.

They've since spent more than $170,000 on epic trips around the world and run an online SKI group to help other older Aussies work out what to do with their retirement savings. They joked that the only thing their sons would inherit would be trinkets they bought on their holidays.

"I'm trying to convince [Leon] we've got to spend now because if we don't spend it, you know he gets it," Leanne said, pointing to her son, Alex, who was in the TV audience.

While that might be a tough pill to swallow for Alex, he was supportive.

"It's their money," he said. "They've worked hard their entire life and invested well in order to get that money so I think they should be able to do whatever they'd like with it."

Alex added that he never saw his parents' money as an "inheritance" so he doesn't mind if they use it all.

"They've raised me to be self-sufficient," he said. "I don't need them for money."

But he did mention he got "quite a good deal" when he bought a house from his parents. It was half of the actual value of the property.

While the Ryland family appears to be all in agreement with what to do with their money, some Aussies took a different mindset.

They called on Leanne and Leon to be more generous to their sons and ensure they're set up for the future.

"As a parent I will always put my children’s needs before my own. It’s funny that most of these parents who brag about spending their kids inheritance, usually inherited from their parents," wrote one Aussie.

"What a selfish society we have become, I believe families should help each other improve their lives," said another.

A third went as far as saying: “Boomers are evil … bragging about overseas holidays with no regard for the environment, spending all their money so their kids have no inheritance."

But there were others in the Ryland family's corner who believed they should do what they want.

"No one should expect an inheritance from anyone. If it happens it is a windfall and just lucky. People who have earned their own money should be able spend it however they like," said one user.

"I don't think any child should expect an inheritance from their parents," said another.

Finder data recently found one-third of Australians are expecting to receive an inheritance.

Interestingly, two in five respondents, equivalent to 8.3 million people, admitted they would rather have it as a gift while the family member is still alive instead of waiting until they die.

Sarah Megginson, personal finance expert at Finder, said there's a massive benefit to this route.

"An early inheritance lets the parent see their children or grandchildren enjoying the gift, and the financial windfall at a younger age gives them more opportunity to use it towards something that drastically improves their life, like a deposit on a home or investing it in education," she said.

"It's not a decision that should be made without some serious consideration of your future financial needs and also the tax impacts."

According to Finder, 10 per cent of Aussies reckon they will get an inheritance within the next 10 years, while another 13 per cent believe it will be up to 20 years before they get a chunk of change.

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