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Surprise Party For Boomer Offspring

retirement decisionsYou’ve seen those bumper stickers that say the driver is retired and spending their kids’ inheritance. It may turn out to have more truth than humor in it.

A recent Bank of America survey of wealthy boomers (they defined wealthy as having more than $3 million in investable assets....What? That leaves you out? Me too.), found that boomers who have made their fortune don’t think it’s important to leave an inheritance to their children. And even those that want to leave something for the kids have not even begun to plan for the transfer of their wealth when they die.

Could it be that we think we’ll live forever, so why plan now? Or could it be that boomers have other things on their minds. The survey found that 70% of wealthy boomers considered travel to be important to them. 46% were going to start a new business or keep working and 55% were planning to do volunteer work.

But what about the kids? 52% of those surveyed have not talked to their kids about their plans to pass on any monies in the event of their death. If that sounds high to you, it will also surprise you that 56% have not documented their personal property and 51% have not legally proscribed how they want their assests distributed among their kids and charities when they’re gone.

So what’s going on here? Never one to miss an opportunity to make totally unsubstantiated assumptions, I’ll take my shot at it. It seems to me that the baby boomer generation spending my kids inheritancedoes not feel the same obligation to leave as much as they can for their kids. It may have a lot to do with the changing perception of retirement as less of a time to relax (the shuffleboard syndrome) and more of a time to pursue ambitions that could not be fulfilled during their worklife. Encore careers, travel, and contributing something to the community have perhaps become the new priorities. Without a doubt, less wealthy boomers may not have anything left to hand off to their kids. As for the rich boomers-- they can will their car to their offspring to fight over--the one with the “I’m Spending My Kids’ Inheritance” license plate.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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