Hot Topics: Boomer Inheritance Windfalls
Get Ready to Inherit. Two-thirds of baby boomers will eventually inherit family money, a windfall that could improve their financial prospects in retirement, according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. The median bequest is estimated at $64,000, but the range is huge, running from an average $1.5 million for the wealthiest 10 percent of boomers to $27,000 for the least wealthy.
So far, 17 percent of boomers have received $2.4 trillion in inheritances out of a possible $11.6 trillion, the study says.
As it stands now, many of those 46 to 64 years old anticipate having insufficient resources for a secure retirement. Only a minority, but a "substantial" one, will be able to use their inheritance to help with retirement, the study says.
Estate Tax Returns. A highly controversial provision in the new federal tax bill passed Thursday night gives the wealthiest families a break in the returning estate tax, according to the National Journal. Democrats unsuccessfully fought the measure, which will allow the top 2 percent of the wealthiest families to pay 35 percent on their legacies, with a $5 million exemption, or $10 million for couples. The estate tax had been scheduled to return Jan. 1 to the prevailing rates before the Bush tax cuts. Under those rates, they would have paid 55 percent with a $1 million exemption.
Children of Divorce. A Rice University study says that divorced or remarried parents shoulder less of the cost of their children's college education than those who remained married. Consequently the children, who pay twice as much as those without divorced parents, either rack up debt or work more while they are in school, both of which are associated with a lower likelihood of completing college, says Ruth N. López Turley, associate professor of sociology at Rice University and co-author of the report.
More than a third of boomers are divorced, according to a CBS News report. One result is that both children and grandchildren of baby boomers are waiting longer to marry. Since 1979, the average age of grooms has risen from 24 to 28 and for brides from 22 to 26, the report says.
Job Opportunities for 2011. Technology still accounts for many of the 50 Best Careers, according to U.S. News and World Report. But jobs in health care continue to expand during the recession due to the aging boomer generation. One new job on the magazine's annual list -- athletic trainer -- topped other health-care occupations for expected job growth.
Win a Trip Expands. Dig out your camera, your laptop and your anti-malaria mosquito netting. In his New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof announces he is opening his annual "win-a-trip" contest to people over 60 as well as to college students. The two winners will travel with Kristof to spotlight some of the developing world's neglected problems.
Last Word. "In my 20s, anybody in their 50s was heading for the old folks' home. There's a whole other way of living now. You're younger for longer. You're younger into your older age," says actress Carrie Fisher in the Los Angeles Times.
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