Over the next two decades, the United States will experience an unprecedented shift of demographics and finances that will likely be felt by every American.
Baby Boomers, the generation of people born between 1944 and 1964, are expected to transfer $30 trillion in wealth to younger generations over the next many years. This jaw-dropping amount has led many journalists and financial experts to refer to the gradual event as the “great wealth transfer.”
In no prior time in the history of America has such a vast amount of wealth moved through the hands of generations.
As the baby boomer name suggests, this generation represented a sudden growth in population post World War II. After decades of prosperity and economic growth, this generation amassed significant financial wealth and control roughly 70% of all disposable income, according to a 2015 report by US News & World Report.
So, when this $30 trillion starts to change hands, what will this mean for everyone else?
The answer is complex and will be different depending on who you are and how much of that money is controlled by you, your parents or grandparents. Still, the effects will be far-reaching and will create opportunities for everyone.
Experts are conflicted about where large sums may end up once it’s in the hands of heirs and beneficiaries because it will be largely influenced by the condition of the stock market at that time, as well as what tax and estate laws are on the books. Stocks and bonds may be a solid place to park money in right now but that doesn’t necessarily hold true tomorrow.
Furthermore, as a 2018 study from Bankrate.com suggests, Millennials are less willing to invest money in the market than previous generations. This could signal a larger and long-term shift of wealth out of the market into other areas.