According to a new survey, American millionaires plan on leaving the vast majority of their wealth to their children, not to charitable organizations. The CNBC Millionaire Survey reports that millionaires, most of whom are members of the Baby Boomer generation, say they’ve elected to bequeath less than 10 percent of their wealth to charities.
Millionaires Asked About Inheritances
CNBC polled a large group of Americans with $1 million or more in assets, asking them what they planned to do with their wealth and what they wanted to happen to it after they died. About 25 percent of survey participants reported they planned to leave their children at least $500,000. Only four percent of the millionaires polled claimed they intend to pass to their children inheritances worth less than $100,000.
Millionaires who had $5 million or more in assets disclosed plans to leave their children at least $1 million, while about 20 percent intend to pass down inheritances of at least $100 million.
When it comes to charities, two-thirds of the millionaires said they have chosen to leave less than 10 percent of their wealth to charities or philanthropies, while 20 percent said they would pass on nothing at all.
Large Philanthropic Gifts Less Common Than Large Inheritances
On the other hand, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have said they intend to give most of their wealth to charities or for philanthropic purposes after their deaths. These two high-profile examples seem to be the exceptions. Most millionaires want to leave their wealth to their children and grandchildren.
Not only that, most are leaving inheritances with no strings attached. Some 41 percent said they believe their children will act responsibly with their inheritances, while only 17 percent expressed concern that their children might squander the wealth.
Baby Boomers Leaving Behind Wealth
The coming decades will likely see the largest generational wealth transfer in American history. According to estimates, between $30 and $59 trillion will pass hands between generations as the baby boomers reach old age. The exchanging hands of trillions of dollars has been referred to as the “great wealth transfer” and many members of Generation X and Millennials will be faced with the serious challenges of managing large inheritances.
On the other hand, many baby boomers have no plans to leave behind any wealth at all. Some 49 percent of baby boomers say they intend to spend all their money in their sunset years, choosing to travel and indulge in lifelong wishes, and that leaving an inheritance for their children or grandchildren is not important at all.