Baby Boomers to kids: Inheritance? Maybe not

Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:34am EDT

Mariangela Petrone of Bronx, New York, rides an all-terrain vehicle she wrapped in the final round of the Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest in New York December 3, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine-Scotch Brand/Handout

Mariangela Petrone of Bronx, New York, rides an all-terrain vehicle she wrapped in the final round of the Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest in New York December 3, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Ray Stubblebine-Scotch Brand/Handout

Related Topics

(Reuters) - Most young, wealthy Americans believe it's important to pass money on to their heirs. They may be disappointed to learn that their parents don't feel the same way.

In an annual survey of the wealthy released on Monday by U.S. Trust, a division of Bank of America Corp, three-quarters of wealthy adults under age 46 said it's a priority to leave money for their kids.

But just 55 percent of Baby Boomers - those age 47 to 66 -said they share that sentiment. In fact, one of every three surveyed said they'd rather leave money to charity than to their kids.

Their reasoning? Some said they believe that each generation should create its own wealth, while others said it's more important to invest in children's success while they are growing up, according to the survey of 642 individuals who have at least $3 million in investable assets.

"Our survey points to a shift in generational behavior and outlook, most likely shaped by personal experience and societal responses to economic realities," said Keith Banks, president of U.S. Trust.

Most of those surveyed don't even talk to their kids about money: just 37 percent said they've fully disclosed their net worth to their children. Those over age 67 said they weren't having this discussion because they were raised not to discuss money, while younger respondents said they didn't want to inhibit their kids' work ethic.

A few other highlights from the study:

* Six in 10 wealthy parents are not fully confident their children will be well-prepared to handle an inheritance. Baby Boomers have the least degree of confidence.

* Forty-two percent of Baby Boomers and 54 percent of those under age 46 are paying medical costs for their parents or other relatives.

* Two-thirds of those surveyed have not made, nor do they have plans to make, a monetary gift to family members to reduce the size of their taxable estate before the end of 2012, when tax laws are expected to change.

(Reporting by Jennifer Hoyt Cummings; Editing by Dan Grebler)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
PeterBrownCA wrote:
My experience suggests that the baby boom generation is interested in transitioning not just cash but intellectual and social capital as well. In business families the children need to learn wisdom (business knowledge)and roles in the family and the community to maintain wealth in the family. Mentoring is an important aspect of business transition.

Jun 19, 2012 11:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
LynCe wrote:
Sense of entitlement breeds contempt.

Jun 19, 2012 6:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
acronombe2012 wrote:
Pluto in Leo

Pluto is the planet of regenerative forces, destruction, annihilation & transformation. Pluto exhibits its power in a person’s need to dominate or control. Its positive influence is seen in great leaders; its negative influence is seen in dictators, mobsters & murderers. Those with Pluto in Leo tend to be proud, into hero worship & self centered in the sense of making their personal desires all important. They often miss the big picture. They’re obsessed with expressing themselves. They are not afraid to defy authority on any level. They splurge on things they want, not things they need. They want to be part of a community, but they also want to be free, be whatever they want. They often suffer from egotism. They have a need to be seen, to be remembered & to be noticed. They are flamboyant & colorful. They can be self-indulgent in their quest for fame & glory. In the year 2011, if you are between the ages of 53 & 74, you have Pluto in Leo in your birth chart. These childish, stubborn, drama queens & kings would rather make love than war but know equally as much about both. This demanding, belligerent, loud, obnoxious, megalomaniac fired-up group with their infectious, uncontrollable passions has made a mess of their love lives (at least once). Pluto in Leo gave us World War II, the birth of nuclear bombs, the erection of the Berlin Wall, the seeds of the Vietnam conflict being sown & China going communist under Mao-Tse-Tung. President Clinton, the very 1st boomer president, exhibits some of the best & worst of the Leo traits – power, lover & love of power. Pluto in Leo’s weaknesses are pride, ego & the overwhelming need to be loved & recognized, sometimes at great cost to themselves & others. Leo is a willful, proud & stubborn sign. It’s willfulness can become controlling & filled with anger at not getting what it wants. Then life becomes twisted & lives become destructive. Do the Pluto in Leo Boomers feel the heat of their unfulfilled potential? This generation will not go kindly into that good night. Pluto in Leos grew up pretty much getting their own way & they had their own moral self-righteousness – wallowing in narcisisism, with a belief that they were the 1st generation in history that had a moral sense & capacity to tell adults how they should lead their lives. Baby Boomers are notorius for 2 things: #1 Refusing to accept responsibility for their actions if things go wrong & #2 finding others to take the fall for their poor decision making when things do go wrong. One word that aptly describes Pluto in Leo is “Cupidity” – Inordinate lust & greed, especially for wealth or power. Big Government, in bed with Wall Street, led to the financial collapse on September 18, 2008. This wasn’t an accident. It was a result of conscious decision making & bad judgement made by weak public officials. Those born in July 24, 1943 (Pluto in Leo) turned 65 by late 2008. Alot of these people hold high positions in business, real estate, government, wall street, banking, oil & investment houses. They are experts at making fantastic financial manuevers. They need their retirement money so they can live like kings & queens from the blood, sweat & tears of everyone else. They are too full of themselves to care what happens to everyone else & the future. These Boomers grew up thinking that life was an endless party. The Pluto in Leo generation put too much emphasis on conspicuous consumption & not enough on preparing for the future. These people ended up unconsciously trying so hard to impress each other in Leonine fashion that they ended up squandering their social power. Boomers are selfish & ungrateful for the tremendous relative material prosperity they’ve enjoyed. They adopted a luxurious lifestyle that is simply not sustainable & they are unhappy precisely because they’ve known that for years when later generations are just now starting to realize it! The forgotten ones of today are the children & grandchildren. Money is being taking from them by the Boomers (so they can finance their egos) & the children & grandchildren are being loaded with debt. The Grandparents are robbing the grandchildren & then the grandparents are telling themselves a fairy tale that it’ll all be ok. What else would one expect from that self-obsessed generation? They’re blown-up, selfish, greedy, pompous & irresponsible. They spent the children’s inheritance on cheap champagne & plastic baubles & now it’s hard times for everyone. A perfect example is Bernie Madoff. Never underestimate the power of human self-delusion. This issue also brings to mind career politicians. No wonder senators, congressmen, governors, etc., don’t want to give up their positions of power. They’re living the sweet life on everyone else’s dime. This is why Congress, the Senate & the President won’t pass a law making the rich pay a fair share of taxes. We should limit terms on their reign of power – 4 years & no longer than 8 years maximum, like the president. It’s a Greek tragedy. The government bails out big business & Wall Street for making bad decisions & yet expect the American people & those on welfare to behave responsibly. While everyone else twists in the wind, they live the sweet life. A betrayal by the elite – who’ve become too self-centered, too convinced that whatever they want must be the best thing, not only for themselves, but for everyone else. Spoiled & self-centered, they’ve created a society that serves only the wealthy. They live by 2 rules/ideas;
#1 how to run a national treasury.
#2 how to let the needy starve.

Jun 19, 2012 7:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.