Studies show Americans blow through family fortunes at a remarkable rate. With trillions being passed on, can today’s baby boomers break the cycle?
If things had gone differently, Rogerson could have been enjoying his share of one of the greatest wealth transfers in U.S. history. According to the Boston College Center for Retirement Research, two-thirds of baby boomers will inherit family money over their lifetime—most during their later middle-age years—to the collective tune of some $7.6 trillion. Add in the many postwar babies who receive a significant financial gift or two from Mom and Dad while the latter are still alive, and the asset shift jumps even more. Not bad, experts say, considering that Americans’ total household wealth at the end of 2012 was $64.8 trillion. “There’s a lot on the line,” says John Davis, faculty chair of the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School.