Millennials will benefit from the biggest “inheritance boom” of any post-war generation, but it will be too late to solve housing struggles and wealth inequality, a report says.
Those who have parents and grandparents in the “baby boomer” generation will be left record sums of wealth, the Resolution Foundation said.
But they will have to wait – until, on average, the age of 61, it suggests.
The think tank defines millennials as those currently aged 17 to 35.
The Resolution Foundation said that inheritances were set to more than double over the next 20 years, and this will peak in 2035, as the generally high-wealth baby boomers progress through old age.
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Almost two-thirds of young adults have parents who own property, which they may get a share of in the future, the report said.
By comparison, only 38% of adults born in the 1930s received an inheritance.
‘Not silver bullet’
The report also noted millennials were only half as likely to own their home at 30 as baby boomers were.
Laura Gardiner, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Older generations have benefitted hugely from the big increases in household wealth in Britain over recent decades.
“While the millennials have done far less well in accumulating their own assets, they are likely to benefit from an inheritance boom in the decades ahead.
“This is likely to be very welcome news for those millennials, including some from poorer backgrounds who in the past would have been unlikely to receive bequests.
“They have the good fortune to benefit from the luck of the baby boomer generation.”
But she said inheritance was “not the silver bullet” that will get the generation on the housing ladder or address growing wealth gaps in society, as it was unlikely to come when they are trying to buy a family home.
25-year-old Rachel Hosie, a lifestyle writer for the Independent, says the proposed inheritance boom is not much comfort to her generation.
“We have student debts, we don’t have guaranteed pensions, and we’ve had tricky financial times to have been entering the world of work.
“We were really told for a lot of my generation that if we were ambitious and worked hard then we’d get a good job after studying hard, then we’d earn money and be able to buy a house and settle down – and we’d have this life that we saw a lot of our parents have, and now we’re struggling,” she said.
However, Cari Rosen – who’s the editor of Gransnet, an online community for the over-50s – says the report misses out an important factor.
“Half of women and a third of men are going to have to pay for care at some point. And actually one in four people who pays for care runs out of money,” she said.
“So we have said to our own millennial there might well be nothing left for you,” she added.
She said: “Of course we want to give our children an inheritance, the thought that what we’ve worked really hard for doesn’t go to our children to help them through their lives is a really terrible one – but we don’t know and there is no way of preparing for that or insuring for that.”