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Baby Boomers: Get Ready for a Double Whammy

Postmillennialism —  Leave a comment

Wall Street Journal — For years now, there’s been a lot of talk about boomers getting tremendous windfalls as their parents pass on. Many boomers, in fact, have been lagging behind in their savings, betting on—hoping for—big bequests, especially since many of them suffered big losses in 2008.

But for a growing number of boomers, things aren’t going according to plan. The postwar generation is living longer—and many are spending their savings along the way. And, of course, many of them also took a hit in 2008.

The result is that, as a group, boomers likely won’t be getting as much of an inheritance as they hoped. Even worse, far from receiving a bequest, a growing number are tapping some of their own savings to help their cash-strapped parents make ends meet.

For families, the result is often a lot of scrambling, dashed dreams, and conflict and angst as parents and children try to come to grips with the lean new reality—and divide up a smaller pie.

“There are way too many adult children I see who are looking at Mom and Dad’s estate as their ticket to a secure retirement,” says M. Holly Isdale, an estate planner in Bryn Mawr, Pa. “But with people living longer, much of the money is likely to be spent.”

How much longer? Thanks to medical gains, a 65-year-old man has a 60% chance of living to age 80 and a 40% chance of reaching 85. For women, the odds are 71% and 53%, respectively. All of this has made the 85-and-over age bracket the fastest-growing segment of the population. In an era of low interest rates, volatile financial markets, and rising costs for health and long-term care, finding money to cover those years isn’t always easy.

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