A recent article in the Los Angeles Times stated that many of the nation’s 77 million baby boomers have decided not to leave their children an inheritance.
To our generation, this sounds incredibly selfish, but the factors involved in this decision make it clear that it is not an easy choice.
Many boomers, who range in age from roughly 47 to 65, are torn between the desire to enjoy their long-awaited retirement years and financial concerns that include outliving their savings and helping relatives who are struggling.
Those of us born to the boomer generation have no right to be upset if our parents choose not to leave an inheritance. It is not our parents’ responsibility to provide us with money and security for our future, especially if doing so affects the quality of their remaining years.
We must understand that this decision is complex, and does not always mean that parents are choosing to use their entire savings to support a lavish lifestyle.
Economic struggles over the last several years have likely diminished the savings accounts of some boomers, making a comfortable retirement seem less probable and the idea of an inheritance nearly impossible.
Still other boomers are giving their children in need a share of money now, as a sort of advance on an inheritance to help make ends meet.
Wealthier boomers are choosing not to leave inheritances because they believe their children will squander the money or develop a sense of entitlement.
Many boomers were born to a generation that lived in or was affected by the Great Depression, and therefore worked much harder to gain much less than many of us do today. This, coupled with the obvious laziness of our generation as a whole, makes the worry that we will squander inheritance money a valid one.
Simply put, the situation is not ideal, but we cannot blame our parents for refusing to sacrifice for us any longer. It is likely that we will depend on our parents for many more years to come, for anything from college tuition to paying for a wedding or helping us pay the rent while we find jobs.
We should not resent our parents if they decide to put their security and comfort in their remaining years before their concerns for our financial security and accept that it is our responsibility.