Millennials are blamed for a lot of things, killing restaurants, entire industries, entire institutions, there is very little in a rapidly changing society that isn’t somehow pinned on the first generation to grow up with the disruptive force that is the internet. One thing that will be fairly difficult to pin on millennials is the fact that millennials will inherit less than their parents.
In a recent survey from Natixis US investor survey some 70 percent of millennials expect to inherit some level of wealth from their parents. Unfortunately though given the finances of their parents and their grandparents that does not seem very likely.
According to the same research “44 percent of Baby Boomers don’t have a will” and “57 percent don’t expect to have any money left to pass on”. Another 35 percent of Boomers said they planned to “spend whatever money that’s left on themselves.” To make it all worse 24 percent of Baby Boomers expect to rely on “contributions from their children” to fund their retirement. Whether it’s a millennial with older parents or their grandparents depending on the family, those numbers do not bode well for millennials expecting a windfall from their family later in life.
Furthermore as the most diverse generation in American history, the institutional racism tied into property ownership and savings. Bank loans have been found to consistently charge people of color higher interest rates and for decades higher priced neighborhoods explicitly kept the grandparents of millennial out of real estate markets with higher property values. All of which puts a significant chunk of the millennial generation at a significant disadvantage, all at no fault of their own.
While Millennials are have actually seemingly bucked “conventional” wisdom regarding their financial habits and have managed to save more than generations past. They also seem to have a less rosy view on their own financial future and what will be there for them, probably a logical response to coming of age in a poor economy. Some 41 percent of millennials feel they will not have government benefits to depend on to ensure retirement. Significantly more than the 33 percent of Generation X and 22 percent of Baby Boomers who feel the same way.
The rosy outlook of their parents and grandparents and their desire to spend their retirement does not seem to bode well for millennial inheritance. Although some millennials feel secure in their future, many more do not, and there are troubling signs that seem to legitimize that feeling. Their parents and grandparents spend more, the economy is worse, and despite robust savings habits as a generation, those habits aren’t leading to robust bank accounts.
Quite the opposite actually and with big economic changes on the way and less generational wealth flowing their way, millennials may be in for a tougher transition into adulthood and retirement than any generation before them.