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Baby boomers could inherit $11 trillion

But that doesn't mean they will, especially if their longer-living parents blow through it in their final years.

By Karen Datko Jan 3, 2011 5:23PM

This post comes from Fred Yager at partner site


On the face of it, this looks like a huge windfall for baby boomers: MetLife commissioned a study (.pdf file) from Boston College's Center for Retirement Research that says some 78 million American baby boomers will share in an estimated intergenerational transfer of wealth totaling $11.6 trillion. That reportedly includes some $2.4 trillion that has already been gifted.

But when you break it down, the study says that basically comes out to about $64,000 as the median amount, and that two out of three boomers should get something.


The study predicts the wealthiest boomer households will get by far the biggest inheritances, with $1.5 million as the average. The average for the poorest will be $27,000.


According to the study, the median amount at the top will be $335,000, and $8,000 for those boomers at the bottom of the net worth scale.


Also, this inheritance is no sure thing. The study was prepared before the economic crisis, and John Migliaccio, MetLife's director of research, says the recession cost would-be inheritors about $800 billion.


Then there are the parents, who may have been part of the frugal generation who saved all that money, but are living a lot longer than even they expected.

Jerry Gerber, of Millionaire Insights, a subscription service that studies persons of high net worth, says a lot can happen in an older person's final years and the end of life can get expensive. This could erode their entire savings.


So whether there will still be money left after a protracted illness or years spent living in a nursing home is hard to say. In other words, boomers, don't spend that money yet.


More from and MSN Money:

Jan 4, 2011 7:44AM
Eeeks, don't give the government any ideas for this 11 trillion.
Jan 4, 2011 4:17PM
So even if the statistics are only close, the wall street theives are drooling right now trying to think of ways to get that money.
Feb 5, 2012 5:46PM

Our accumulated wealth is mostly in life Insurance and our homes value.  Neither of which will we try to spend outright now. 


The Wall St thieves have already developed schemes to defraid folks out of those things you and I have paid for with cash earned with our sweat.  May a plague be visited upon all those who a contemplating such nefarious deeds, as well as their family's.

Mar 12, 2012 2:35PM
Jan 4, 2011 11:31AM
i heard this was actually begining to occur roughly 1990.  it's a slow hand over.  and i know little of it is reaching me! 
Mar 16, 2012 11:27PM

I wonder if the Federal Government is counting on this to pay off their debts ?

Apr 21, 2012 10:07AM
Duckmom2000, you have distorted views of inheritance.  It is a gift, not an entitlement.  Nobody owes you anything and quite frankly, it doesn't sound like you deserve any generosity.  Whatever I leave my children is my decision and yes, I have life insurance and more because I love my kids and want to keep helping them as long as I can, just as I have since their births.  I am a boomer and my parents will not have much to leave us but my siblings and myself are more interested in THEIR well being.  Unlike you, we realize that it's THEIR money and we want them to enjoy it.  They worked hard for it.  I think that your assignment of greed is misplaced.  Look in the mirror and you will be right on target.
Jun 11, 2012 11:39AM
Where do you get this stuff from?  People are living longer and longer and sucking up any inheritance money that would have been left to us.  Us baby boomers will see nothing!  My dad was in assisted living for two years at a cost of $200,000, so that left nothing to inherit.  Our parents are the ones that came into wealth because their parents did not live as long as people do now.  And now that money is being used for their care.  My parents never gave us one red cent...we got everything on our own and we for sure did not get any in inheritance!  GET REAL!!!!! 
Apr 21, 2012 1:38PM

I was born buck **** naked and at best someone may send me out with socks on my cold feet! Other than that there is no entitlement. Come talk to some of us below poverty level people and see what are expections are---it is called survival.

Get out of your so called "think tank" and mid stream with the poor.

Apr 21, 2012 10:47AM

to Duckmom et al of same mind frame..what ungracious children talking about baby boomers...they are or were your parents...I never asked or knew about my parents income or savings other than to make sure they had enough to live on, I took care of them and loved them without question. You who we baby boomers bought you a car or helped to put you through school, who bought for you before ourselves...shame on you...if you were my child I'd tell you get a job...yeah times are tough...but we had no silver spoons when I was growing up. My parents came to America during WWII, they worked hard and we worked with them...get off your and take any work instead of thinking your too good to do any job. 
PS fortunately my children are not like you...they know how to work and save and pay their own way...I am proud to say these are my family!!!
Apr 26, 2012 10:52AM

America’s involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have cost the American taxpayer 3 trillion dollars. America chose to fight both conflicts with a small, all volunteer military force which was heavily supplemented by civilian contractors. These decisions not only placed enormous strain on the troops but dramatically pushed up costs. Recent congressional investigations have shown that roughly 1 of every 4 dollars spent on wartime contracting was wasted or misspent. We paid for the conflicts thru borrowing hence the enormous debt increase. Future bills will include such things as caring for military veterans, replacing military equipment, rebuilding the armed forces and paying interest on all the money we have borrowed. And these costs won't be insignificant. The bill for future medical and disability benefits is estimated at $600 billion to $900 billion. Congress routinely approves huge emergency appropriations to pay for conflicts overseas. Congress should be cut in half until we get the debt paid off. We cannot afford to pay 435 representatives an average of $174,000 a year and $60,000 a year in retirement. The total bill for congress is $75 million a year, a burden the American taxpayer can no longer afford. The Pentagon hasn't produced a clean financial audit in the 20 years since government auditing began, nor has it developed an accounting framework that would allow an assessment of the future costs of current decisions.

Apr 10, 2012 8:08AM
Good estate planning is when the check to the undertaker bounces.
Apr 12, 2012 12:48AM
DuckMom2000......You deserve nothing from your parents, as you have decided that it was not theirs to do with as they pleased, after you were grown.  Tell me, where did this generation come from who actually thinks that they don't have to earn their OWN future.  Makes me quite sick.  I'm enjoying my retirement, and my kids love me for doing so.  They are quite successful (though not terribly financially wealthy, and neither was I), as they look at all of life as a challenge.  I frankly taught them that, as my great parents did me.  I think of them often, and my mother lives with me in her very elder years, not in a nursing home (and hopefully never will).  This nation really has the horse and cart turned around, and it all looks quite silly, when you get down to it.  Gosh, I LOVE those senior discounts, and some of us really do deserve it.  Yes, I believe that I deserve it.
Apr 10, 2012 8:12AM

Sully & xpert1,


The Wall Street "thieves" can't get your money unless you do really stupid stuff and give it to them.  Buy and hold a market index fund.  If you'd done that over your lifetime, your portfolio would be worth more than ever.  You would have made huge profits and the "Wall Street thieves" would have earned at most a few thousand dollars in commissions and trading spreads.

Jul 24, 2012 9:03AM

"Jerry Gerber, of Millionaire Insights, a subscription service that studies persons of high net worth, says a lot can happen in an older person's final years and the end of life can get expensive. This could erode their entire savings."


It seems THIS is a part of this article that most did not read---Millionaire Insights, subscription service, persons of high net worth-----this DOES NOT include 98 percent of boomers---that does not translate.   The articles states that 78 million boomers were interviewed---really, I've never been interviewed, but of course, I am NOT in the top 10% of those who have over 50% of the wealth in this country.   $11.6 trillion dollar transfer---that maybe, but that does not cover the 98 percent of most boomers who do not have that kind of money.  Think people, this is a lousy article that pinpoints those at the top as the norm.  It is not the norm.  Most boomers have inherited nothing.  Most boomers have paid SS from the cradle to the grave.  Most boomers have worked so hard they have paid for those behind us and in front of us.  We have made small business work, colleges thrive, people work, cleaned up the environment, made the drinking water clean, fought discrimanation so Duckmom can have her shelfish say, fed the poor, taken care of our parents, taken care of wars by no means part of what we wanted for our lifetime, and provided for many other countries, as well as provide lucrative retirements and healthcare for our elite Congressman, Senators, and their families.  When CEOs and our elected officials believe they deserve the high salaries they vote themselves because they are worth it, I don't think the boomers hold a candle to that trash.  We have been a cash cow for a long time for many people.  It's time we stop.  


Boomers stop now, no more.  No more money to charities that ask to be put in your will, no more down payments to children, which includes nieces and nephews, who are ungrateful, find out where things are made and research where they are putting their money politically and cut them off, learn to slam the door, say no, and for them to get out of your face, and by all means, tell the financial advisors to stuff it when they give advise that YOU KNOW is wrong. They are no more knowledgeable about finances as you.   Don't spend your money for the next best thing.  Don't be talked into opening your wallet.  Cut the gift giving in half.  We need to save for us.  When asked for loans, say I can't I have to save money so I won't be a burden on you!!   If the boomers have a lot of money, then let's show it.  CUT THEM OFF!!!  I've already started and let me tell you, I it is empowering to cut the handout that bad mouths you.  Give it a try. 

This is the stupidest article I have read so far. Duckmom, please quit listening to trash TV and start reading what you post.

Apr 10, 2012 8:07AM
$11 Trillion?  That's outrageous!  Why hasn't the government confiscated that money.  Where's the plan to take it before the heirs who have done nothing to deserve it, get it?
Mar 24, 2012 12:49AM
I won't see a thing. My mom died at 40 and dad remarried. His second wife got it all when he died. Two weeks after the funeral she started remodeling plans. Now she's thinking she'll move into a retirement community at 6K a month? She's 85 and both her parents lived into their late 90s. There won't be anything left. She worked 25 years total in her life. I've already put in 32 years. Life just isn't fair. My dad told me years ago that each of us would get 50-100K. I won't believe it till I see it. He loved his wife but I always knew it would end up this way. He had good intentions. He just had to much trust in her.
Mar 19, 2012 2:58PM
I got to this article through another article titled "Planning on an Inheritance?  Good luck!"  Seems the boomers are the only ones left inheriting anything - just like they are the last generation to get anything out of Social Security, Medicare, pensions, etc.  Is anyone seeing a pattern?  This greedy, selfish generation will leave nothing in the ruin they leave behind.  Why do we have to put up with them sucking our futures away?
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