Business & Millennials Are Planning On The Great Wealth Transfer, But Baby Boomers May Have Other Plans

by Joseph F. Coughlin

The longevity economy is about more than older consumers and their buying power. It is also about the dynamics of how multiple generations are interacting in society – in the economy, in political discourse, in the workplace, and even within families.

Business is banking on the Millennials. Their sheer numbers make them the generation to watch. Millennials may not have money now, but it’s coming. Or, so the story goes.

Here’s the thesis. The Baby Boomers, upon their death, will transfer an estimated $30 to $68 trillion to adult children. The story goes that the transfer will transform young consumers into alpha buyers of real estate, other big-ticket items, and convert them into great next-gen clients of financial advisors, banks, real estate, and more.


Millennials and businesses alike may not want to cash that check just yet – the money might just pass them by. Of course, the Millennials are a mega powerful consumer generation, but their economic power is unlikely to rest on inheritance alone. The Baby Boomers may just have other plans.

Click here to read my Forbes article to learn the key challenges that may make the Great Wealth Transfer story, as told today, a tall tale, that may, or may not, come true.

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About the Author

Photo of Joseph F. Coughlin
Joseph F. Coughlin

Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD is Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. He teaches in MIT's Department of Urban Studies & Planning and the Sloan School's Advanced Management Program. Coughlin conducts research on the impact of global demographic change and technology trends on consumer behavior and business strategy. He advises a wide variety of global firms in financial services, healthcare, leisure and travel, luxury goods, real estate, retail, technology, and transportation.

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