BOSTON (CBS) – The reality is there may not be much money to inherit from mom and dad.

The media has been reporting for years that there is mega money coming. The greatest intergenerational wealth transfer. Today’s retirees are wealthier than previous generations. And according to The Center on Wealth & Philanthropy at Boston College, there are trillions of dollars that the Boomers will inherit.

But that may not happen; according to a study done by two economists, Jagadeesh Gokhale and Laurence J. Kotlikoff, working for the  Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Boomers as a group will inherit more than their parents did, but they concluded that Boomers still need to plan on funding their own retirement by saving and investing during their working years.

I have summarized their findings:

  1. Much of the wealth of the current retiree is in the form of pensions and Social Security benefits that cannot be passed to the children upon death. Only a small percentage of Boomers, less than 2% will actually get $100,000 or more.
  1. Today’s retirees are spending down their assets at a faster rate than their predecessors did several decades ago.
  1. Today’s retirees are living longer. Mortality rates are lower now than at any time in the past. As current retirees age they will deplete assets they may have earmarked for their children. Nursing home costs are over $100,000 a year in Massachusetts.
  1. Only twenty-two percent of current retirees believe it is important to leave an inheritance for their children. You’ve seen the bumper sticker, “Retired & Spending my Children’s Inheritance” They raised their kids and educated them and that should be enough they say. And actually it should be.
  1. Too many siblings sharing too few dollars: Boomers are the largest segment of our population because their parents had lots of kids after World War II. And those dollars will need to be shared among all of the children. So everyone gets a smaller piece of the pie.
  1. The rich will get richer. The very wealthy will leave large legacies to a very small number of heirs.
  1. This last one is more common than you think; your parents may re-marry and want to share their money with their new spouse. For example, Anna Nicole Smith.

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