Baby Boomers to Gen X and Y: ‘No inheritance for you’

We Baby Boomers have one final, selfish act before we go, a new study suggests. We’re not going to leave you an inheritance.

According to CBS Moneywatch today, the number of Boomers who think leaving an inheritance is important has plunged in the last year to about 46 percent. Previous surveys indicated two-thirds of Baby Boomers thought it important to leave their children and grandchildren some money.

Apparently, the oldsters are concerned you’ll just blow it. Assuming they can’t take it with them, Boomers will blow it themselves to prevent that from happening.

That’s so Boomer.

As a Yahoo Finance writer noted last year, they’re spending the kids’ inheritance.

Baby boomers bought into the “me-first” marketing hype when it was probably age-appropriate for them to be self-centered. Most generations go through a narcissistic phase in their 20s. However, the boomers are rare in that they are taking the “me-first” attitude as well as their credit cards into retirement.

Marketers want boomers to remain rabid consumers so they keep buying their products and services. One article on the Zoomer site suggests aging boomers want no guilt attached to their splurging.

One of the dark sides of reckless spending is dealing with the massive credit card debt. Our children see us paying the grandparents’ debt, which impacts the entire family because we have to work twice as hard.

An article in March in the New York Times suggests there’ll still be a great transfer of wealth from the generation, but it probably won’t come until around 2031, according to one study, the Times says.

When that process is underway, 10 percent of the country’s total wealth will change hands every five years through inheritances, estates, gifts and the like. And as income and wealth have become distributed less evenly, the inherited spoils will be distributed unevenly, too. Households with less than $500,000 in net worth will transfer about $3 trillion to their heirs. Ones with more than $500,000 will transfer four times that much wealth.

That money will flow into the bank accounts of the by-then-over-the-hill members of Generation X and Generation Y, and the United States might look a little more like aristocratic Europe, with its Downton Abbeys and super-hyphenated names — maybe with a few more tattoos.

Lists like the Forbes 400 might be filled less with financiers and technology entrepreneurs and more with third-generation Waltons and second-generation Zuckerbergs and Bezoses or, perhaps, first-generation Walton-Zuckerberg von Bezoses.