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Who is most generous with kids?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

American retirees are expected to be among the most generous in the world when it comes to leaving their children an inheritance. Compared with a global average of $148,000, U.S. retirees plan to bequeath an average of about $175,000.

But a study of retirees in 15 countries and territories conducted by HSBC shows that American retirees are dwarfed by Australians, who plan to leave a whopping average of more than $500,000. Retirees in Singapore are the second-most generous after Australia, planning to leave an average of $370,966; the United Kingdom is third, with $284,145. Americans come in sixth.

Retirees in the U.S. are also eager and not necessarily waiting until death to leave a legacy; 35 percent of working-age people have already received an inheritance of an average of $24,000. And many pre-retirees are counting on getting a windfall, with two-thirds saying it would finance their retirement to some extent and 10 percent saying they plan to live solely off an inheritance.

Andy Ireland, head of premier banking and wealth management at HSBC, advises people not to rely on an inheritance. Unexpected expenses, such as medical care, may prevent retirees from passing along as much as they plan. "You cannot predict what may happen between now and receiving an inheritance," he said in a statement. "The earlier you start preparing, the more financially secure your own retirement is likely to be."

Use Bankrate's retirement planning calculator to determine what it will take for you to retire comfortably.

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