There’s a new gig in town for some members of the Baby Boomer generation: waiting. No, not waiting tables. That’s not new. This kind of waiting has a much more macabre air about it since it describes people who are waiting for their inheritance in order to get wealthy. That’s right; they’re waiting for someone to die – usually their parent(s) – so that they can inherit the golden nest egg.
The unfortunate fact for these “waiters” is that the family landscape has changed. People are living longer due to advances in medicine, which sometimes results in family estates being deminished by healthcare costs such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The traditional nuclear-family, in which most of these Boomers were raised, is, more often than not, a rarely encountered entity. Because of all these divorces, second and third marriages, and criss-crossed family lineages, exactly who stands to inherit what has become increasingly difficult to decipher. The irony of it all is that the Baby Boomers brought about many of the changes that now serve to frustrate them.
Nevertheless, it is estimated that about $20 trillion will transfer to heirs in the next 50 years so some waiters may not suffer any harmful repercussions; others, however, may not be so lucky. Regardless of the risk, the vast majority of these waiters spend as though they already have the money, causing friction between them and their frugal, Great Depression-era parents. And it is these parents that comprise the fastest growing age group among seniors, since the number of people age 85 to 94 jumped over 30% in the last decade.