The communication struggles that baby boomers and those in their parents' generation thought they had overcome in the decades since the 1970s have resurfaced. This time the gap is around the transfer of $25 trillion in wealth to be handed down by the elder generation to their heirs.
A new landmark survey found evidence of a huge generational gap on views of inheritance and legacy. The missing communications or the "Legacy Gaps" between U.S. boomers (adults aged 40-59) and the elder generation (adults aged 65 and over) are among the key findings in The Allianz American Legacies Study, which reveals:
- Elders (22%) are seven times more likely than boomers (3%) believe they owe their children an inheritance.
- The majority of the nation's baby boomers (68%) and those surveyed from their parents' generation (71%) say they feel highly confident discussing key elements of inheritance and legacy planning issues, yet only around one third (29%) of baby boomers and elders (31%) have actually done so with their own families.
- Non-financial leave-behinds - like ethics, morality, faith and religion - are 10 times more important to both boomers and elders with children than the financial aspects of a legacy transfer.
- Fulfilling last wishes and distributing personal possessions were five times more likely to be the greatest source of family conflict during a legacy transfer than the distribution of finances according to boomers whose parents are not alive.
"Many families are not getting to the heart of the real issues," said Mark Zesbaugh, CEO of Allianz Life. "If the conversation does not cover the four pillars people consider core to a true legacy - values and life lessons, instructions and wishes to be fulfilled, personal possessions of emotional value, and financial assets/real estate - the legacy conversation between the parent and the boomer child doesn't happen in a meaningful or effective way. This study is not only a call-to-action for American families to have important conversations about their family legacy today, but provides a helpful template for doing so."