A Millennial Conundrum and the Case of the Disappearing Inheritance

The rising tides of exponentially increasing health care costs and a longer life span have led to a relatively new wrinkle in retirement planning, the disappearing inheritance. In the past few years, the primary goal of most retirees, which had centered on legacy planning, has become survival and making sure their money lasts their whole lives. Happily, their lives are growing longer; the average lifespan of an American female is now 81.2 years, and for males it’s 76.4 years, a record high according to a new report on mortality by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unhappily, the cost of care to maintain that life span is growing at an equally swift pace. Healthcare costs run higher in the United States than in any other developed country in the world, according to Consumer Reports. Add to that statistic the threat of an increasing cost of living, and elderly investors have their hands full just keeping their heads above water. For millennials, who already face a potential loss of Social Security and work related benefits (Does anyone get a pension anymore?), this is another indication that the health of their own ideal retirement rests squarely on their shoulders. Years ago, as Americans reached retirement age, many middle class Americans could count on some form of inheritance from their parents as a bonus to their own pension and life savings. Two of these three vehicles are becoming obsolete.. Fortunately, Millennials are saving earlier and more aggressively than any age group before them, according to a survey from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Among Millennials whose companies offer an employer sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k), 71% are participating in the plan, and they’re investing a healthy median 8% of their annual salary, the survey of more than 4,000 workers found. What many 401(k) investors don’t realize is that they not only control the amount they invest in their company… | Read More »