On the face of it, this looks like a huge windfall for Baby Boomers.
MetLife commissioned a study from Boston College's Center for Retirement Research that says that some 78 million American baby boomers adults aged approximately 46 to 64 will share in an estimated inter-generational transfer of wealth totaling $11.6 trillion. That reportedly includes some $2.4 trillion that has already been gifted.
But when you break down, that study says that basically comes out to around $64,000 as the median amount, and that two out of three boomers should get something. Who gets what however will not be divided equally.
The study predicts the wealthiest boomer households will get by far the biggest inheritances, with $1.5 million as the average. The average for the poorest will be $27,000.
According to the study, median amounts for top will be $335,000 and around $8,000 for those boomers at the bottom of the net worth scale.
Also, this inheritance is no sure thing. The study was prepared before the economic crisis and John Migliaccio, MetLife's director of research, says the recession cost would-be inheritors about $800 billion.
Then there's the parents, who may have been part of the frugal generation who saved all that money, but are living a lot longer than even they expected.
Jerry Gerber, of Millionaire Insights, a subscription service that studies persons of high net worth, says a lot can happen in an older person's final years and the end of life can get expensive. This could erode their entire savings.
So whether there will still be money left after a protracted illness or years spent living in a nursing home is hard to say. In other words, boomers, don't spend that money yet.