The key to your financial future may lie in your parents’ bank account.
One in three Americans say their financial stability is dependent on receiving an inheritance, according to a recent survey by Merrill Edge, an online discount brokerage service provided by Bank of America Merrill Lynch BAC, +1.55% Some 36% of Generation X-ers and 32% of millennials and 20% of baby boomers say they’re relying on their family fortunes.
For Generation Z, which is aged 18 to 22, this number jumps to 63%, despite 87% describing their approach to financial decisions as “do-it-myself.” Planning ahead is smart, but relying on money that may never materialize is not, said Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge. “We’ve never seen such a strong reliance on receiving an inheritance,” he said.
The 1,000 respondents in the Merrill Edge survey said they were most likely to describe the stock market as “volatile” (34%), although it doesn’t appear to be deterring them from investing. Most Americans (57%) say they made money in the stock market in the past year with Generation X-ers (67%) and those older (68%), citing the most financial gains.
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Many of the world’s richest people are already transferring their money to their children. Ultra high-net-worth individuals will transfer $3.9 trillion to the next generation by 2026, according to a study released last year by global wealth consultancy Wealth-X. This reflects a 5% decline from the report’s 2014 estimate of $4.1 trillion.
The gap between the rich and poor is widening. The U.K.-based House of Commons Library said earlier this year that, if current trends continue, the richest 1% will control nearly 66% of world’s money by 2030. Based on 6% annual growth in wealth, they would hold assets worth approximately $305 trillion, up from $140 trillion today, the Guardian reported.
The divergence in the levels of inequality has been “extreme” between Western Europe and the U.S., according to a separate report, released earlier this year by the World Inequality Lab, a research project in over 70 countries based at the Paris School of Economics, and co-authored by the French economist Thomas Piketty. “The global middle class has been squeezed,” it said.