“Surprising Reality: Boomers’ Wealth Transfer Is Smaller Than You Think!
As the Baby Boomer generation ages, many have begun to consider how their wealth will be passed down in the form of inheritances to their heirs. Unfortunately, new research shows that this wealth transfer won’t be as large as previously expected. A report commissioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that Boomers have far less wealth than expected in the buildup of their retirement years. A combination of longer life expectancies, low interest rates, and inadequate saving are contributing factors to this current shortfall. The irony is that while the Boomer generation has had the highest per capita wealth levels of any generation in history, the taxes and other costs associated with transferring that wealth to their heirs will lead to the generation receiving less of an inheritance than was previously understood. Boomers may owe estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and a multitude of other costs. Further, assets have been reduced due to medical and long-term care costs, making the generational wealth transfer even smaller. Clearly, the wealth transfer Boomers expected to receive from their parents and the wealth they expected to pass to their children is taking on a new shape. Boomers now need to focus on providing their heirs with a legacy of knowledge, values, and wisdom rather than a large transfer of financial wealth. Furthermore, Boomers should also consider strategizing with their families about financial inheritances that can be passed down to grandchildren. This could include a wise choice of investments coupled with preparing the grandchildren for college, early financial literacy, and family real estate projections down the road. Ultimately, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis report is a reminder that although Boomers may have to accept a smaller inheritance than originally expected, there are still many meaningful and lasting gifts that can be transferred from one generation to the next.