Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shrinking inheritances for boomers – and their kids?

I have been working to try an understand one of the many faulty assumptions that politicians have about boomers and their wealth. This article from the US adds to my concerns that we are making a terrible assumption about the wealth that boomers will have between the time they stop generating a decent income to the point they need to spend money on care. I think we can be sure in our assumption that the state will not be funding care so it is left to the individual.

According to this article, as recently as five years ago, economists thought US baby boomers stood to inherit anywhere between $41 trillion to $136 trillion when their parents died.

A few things have changed this forecast. Increasing life spans and health care costs -plus two recessions in the past decade – plus the funding that older people have been forced to provide to their kids.

Now, the economist gurus that the amount of inheritance is more likely to be less than $10 trillion.

To be sure, the amount of money left in Mom and Dad's estate will be significant — a median of $64,000, according to a December report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and MetLife insurance. Interestingly, the average is 5 times this amount. Yep, five times. Know what that means? A few people are going to inherit a stash of loot.

The MetLife report looks very interesting (as they always do) since it also talks about the implications of these figures on the amount of wealth that boomers themselves will leave to their kids. I don’t need to do the sums (but I will) to know that it is going a lot less than their parents. Dick Stroud

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