Weekend Reading: Older Americans Stockpiled a Record $35 Trillion. The Time Has Come to Give It Away

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading wealth transfer Weekend reading wealth transfer
Weekend Reading

We are in the midst of our country’s biggest wealth transfer ever. Americans aged 70 and older now hold 27 percent of all U.S. wealth, and they’re beginning to pass it on.


Money by the mass: By 2042, nearly $70 trillion will go to heirs and philanthropic purposes, and it could create an economic boom. While for some, this money will provide financial stability, for others, it provides freedom to take more risk, such as starting a business. The article highlights various instances in which wealthy Baby Boomers are passing savings onto children prior to their passing, and in return, those individuals are investing that money into personal endeavors, such as company start-ups, the purchase of a new home, student loan payoff, and charitable organizations.

Secure your estate: At the same time, with so much wealth being passed down, the importance of a proper estate plan is coming to the forefront. In the midst of this transfer, the Biden administration proposed tax changes to owners’ unrealized gains – making them taxable in the year of the owner’s passing. This is also in addition to raising top long-term capital gains tax rates from 23.8 percent to 43.4 percent.

In New York, the state’s court system experienced a rise in contested estate proceedings, and reported cases nearly tripling from 2016 to 2019 due to instances involving executor fee objections or even litigation. Competing priorities of children, grandchildren and other involved parties can create messy situations, but communicating with all individuals involved in your estate plan can help mitigate these issues.

Take heed: Estate planning isn’t something you can wait on until the end of life, as you’ll most likely get the timing wrong. A client shared with me this past week that their mortality is weighing heavier on them, while I probably still feel invincible and give it little thought. They couldn’t be more wrong. I’m constantly thinking about those that rely on me and what I can do to safeguard them after my passing. Death happens at any age, and the discussion shouldn’t be taboo.