As young people continue their journeys through life with a negative net worth, more members of the “mass affluent” American youth are openly admitting that their financial stability in retirement will depend on inheriting money from their parents, another family member or a friend, according to Bloomberg.
A recent survey of the “mass affluent” – that is, people age 18 to 40 with investable assets worth between $50,000 and $250,000, or with investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 and an annual income of at least $50,000 – found that 65% of Americans aged 18-22 expect to depend on inherited money to get through retirement. But not everybody expects to inherit that money from their parents. Roughly 17% of these “Gen Z” respondents said they expect to inherit money from a friend. By comparison, that number is 4% for all age groups. Another 17% of Gen Zers said they expect to inherit money from their grandparents, compared with 6% overall, while 14% said they expect extended family to shell out some cash, compared with 5% overall.
Indeed, in North America alone, an estimated $30 trillion will be transferred to the younger generation via inheritances over the next 30 years. Though for some members of Gen Z, it could be a while before they see any of that money, because, as a survey from UBS recently showed, roughly 53% of people with more than $1 million in investable assets expect to live to 100, or beyond.
Those beneficiaries may have to wait a long time, though: A recent survey from UBS Financial Services showed that 53 percent of people with more than $1 million in investable assets expected to live to 100. One financial expert said the notion that young people expect to inherit money from friends is unique to their generation.
Levine attributes the relatively large number of Gen Zers who expect to inherit money from friends as unique to the demographic. They’ve grown up in a sharing economy – think Airbnb, Uber and crowdfunding – so “why wouldn’t you have some sort of shared way with friends to finance your future?” he said.
The reliance on a hoped-for inheritance points to worries bedeviling Americans who aren’t even struggling to get by. Decades of spending down savings during retirement loom, and safety nets such as Social Security and Medicare don’t feel so safe anymore, particularly to the youngest Americans.
When it comes to young people across the developed world, Americans aren’t the only ones looking forward to an inheritance to help them make it through retirement. Globally, inheritance expectations are highest in India – with 19% of the population expecting to receiving something – and lowest in Japan, with just 7% expecting to receive something.
The average across 15 countries in the recent Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2018 was 11%. It’s unsurprising that a growing number of young American workers say they will need to depend on inheritances for financial stability in retirement, as wage growth has been stagnant and AI and automation are expected to displace more human workers. But as we pointed out back in 2013, rich kids shouldn’t count their eggs before they hatch. Because as families see the value of their estates rise, they give more money to charity, and less to their kids.