Millennials’ Inheritance Expectations Too Lofty Despite Boomers’ Trillions

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Millennials have faced a number of financial disadvantages in their prime earning years that their parents were spared (among them, the Great Recession and pandemic). Despite these financial challenges, they’ve been expected to eventually become the wealthiest generation, thanks to a morbid reality — when they’re baby boomer family members pass away, they’ll inherit their collective trillions of dollars.

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This is known as the “great wealth transfer,” and economic experts have been talking about it for a while. However, millennials may have overinvested in these experts’ estimates of how much they will inherit from their boomer elders.

According to a recent survey of more than 2,000 adults by Alliant Credit Union, cited by CNBC, 52% of millennials who are anticipating an inheritance from their parents or another family member expect to receive at least $350,000. But the majority of boomers who plan to leave an inheritance — 55% — said they will leave less than $250,000.

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The issue doesn’t appear to be that boomers don’t have the money, but rather that they don’t know what their financial future will hold. Some research has shown that boomers may outlive their retirement savings.

Additionally, factors like inflation and a looming recession could be causing boomers to rethink exactly how much they’ll be able to pass onto their next of kin – even if they are considerably wealthier than them in the immediate sense.

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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