Some Boomers reacted angrily to the idea that their wicked generation is evil because they are disinclined to curtail their spending in order to leave anything to their descendants. But the facts that one of them demanded I cite are even more damning of their generation than I had imagined.
With the older generation seemingly richer than ever thanks to generous pension provisions and rapidly rising house prices, it’s no surprise to find so many of them ticking off their ‘bucket list’ by travelling abroad, taking up new hobbies or treating themselves to expensive luxuries. In fact, the spending patterns of these golden oldies have become so widespread, they have even gained a name of their own. SKI-ing – or Spending the Kids’ Inheritance – has become the new normal for the over 50s, replacing the desire of previous generations to leave a legacy for their children and grandchildren.
According to a study by SAGA, in 2016 Britain’s over 50s owned almost 70% of the country’s household wealth, amounting to a staggering £6.2trn. What’s more, that figure had risen rapidly, climbing by £660bn in five years. Of the headline figure, pension wealth accounted for £2.52trn and property wealth a further £2.29trn. However, the days where their children could simply sit back and wait to inherit their share of this wealth are fading fast. These days, more and more older people are deciding to enjoy their money themselves rather than leave it behind for their family.
Having grown up in relative austerity in the post war years, many of the so-called baby-boomer generation are reluctant to go without in later life just so they can pass on their hard earned savings to their children. In fact, a study of Attitudes to Inheritance in Britain by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed that as many as two-thirds of over 50s would rather enjoy their life than worry about leaving an inheritance, with just a quarter saying they would budget their spending in order to leave something behind.
The study found that while most respondents liked the idea of leaving an inheritance, they did not think they should have to be careful with their cash, or cramp their lifestyle, in order to do so. It is a similar story down-under, where the Challenger National Seniors Australia report found just 3% of Australians over 50 plan to preserve their savings as an inheritance and only 25% said leaving their family anything was a top priority.
US Boomers are no better than their foreign counterparts. Notice that they are spending 57 percent more annually than Generation X, despite the fact that a) they don’t have families to raise and b) most of them are not financially assisting their children and grandchildren.
Separating out net worth along generational lines, it’s Baby Boomers who possess more than half (54%) of all of US household wealth. These Baby Boomers are also spending more than the other generations, with Epsilon reporting that Boomers spend $548.1 billion annually, a figure nearly $200 billion more than the next highest spending generation (Gen X).
Proverbs 13:22: A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
1 Timothy 5:8: Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.