Written on March 26, 2015 – 5:11 am | by Elaine Blades
A recent Maclean’s magazine cover story by Charlie Gillis – The Waiting Game - paints a rather sad view of the pending “great wealth transfer”. The sensationalistic cover line “Hurry Up and Die, Already” provides a less-than-subtle clue about the article’s theme. With a number of juicy quotes from GTA estates lawyers Les Kotzer and Megan Connolly the article paints a picture of the free-spending, debt-ridden Baby Boomers waiting for their hard-working, thrifty parents to die, so the latter can get at the money they so desperately need and, in their view, deserve.
Sensationalism aside, the article contains some very interesting information. For example, according to various surveys:
- as much as $1 trillion is in motion
- nearly half of Boomers are expecting to benefit from this transfer
- on average, Canadians overestimate how much they’ll inherit by about 50%
The plot thickens as we learn that Boomers are a highly-indebted cohort. One-half of homeowners in their 50’s still having mortgage debt which is unlikely to be paid off before they retire. And, non-mortgage debt for 56-65 year olds has risen more than 40% since 2008. Throw in ingredients such as an increase in second, third and non-traditional families, longer living seniors with increasing health care costs and the constant of sibling rivalry and the stage is set for some tumultuous times.
Although the article is very one-sided – there is nary a mention of the Boomers, well-off or not, who are contributing to their parents well being by providing care and/or financial assistance – there is no doubt all of us who work in the “estates business” are in for some interesting times. (If you are craving a little balance in this regard I commend you to Audrey Miller’s posts and to the site Caregiving Matters).
On a somewhat related note, you might be interested in reading about the rise of the “Death Doula”.
Thanks for reading.