Millennials Will Receive An 'Inheritance Boom' -- But They Still May Not Be Able To Afford Houses

Sandra Hajda

Many millennial hit pieces have accused the group of being lazy, narcissistic, entitled, and unable to deliver in the workplace or to stay loyal to employers. An American Conservative article argues that the millennials failed to develop adequately as a result of deep self-centredness accompanied by a dearth of real substance.

Such articles often acknowledge that these alleged flaws may be the fault of boomer parents, who were unable to implant the right values or set a strong example due to the fact that they were handed their success on a silver platter. The boomers rode a glittering, unbroken wave of economic prosperity that began in the early 1990s and ended in 2008, the length and magnitude of which is unlikely to be repeated during the lifetime of the present millennial cohort.

The Independent has just published an article about the force many millennials will be counting on to bail them out -- inter-generational wealth transfer.

The report states that millennials are indeed set to receive an "inheritance boom."

However, the boom is unlikely to help millennials reach the level of wealth their parents enjoyed. The report even states that home ownership will remain a challenge for many millennials.

You might ask how this could be the case, given that much boomer wealth is concentrated in the housing market, and one would expect that inheritance recipients would hold onto those depreciated assets (bound to depreciate in coming decades as the housing bubble bursts in time for the millennials to receive their inheritance), rather than sell them off and live far from central CBD locations, as they are reportedly disinclined to do. Many reports have criticized young people for living in cramped share housing, staying in their childhood bedrooms, or living in their moms' basements rather than moving to outer suburb locations where they can create fresh, youthful hubs, connect with locals (often comprised of the minority communities millennials claim to support), build businesses, and revitalize new areas.

The answer is that millennials will not receive their inheritances until they are themselves a whopping 61-years-old. They will be deprived during the critical family-rearing period of their lives. The researchers were concerned that those big boomer-owned houses will not be passed on until after the coming, even-younger generation is reared. Many millennials may be forced to raise their children in cramped quarters -- a new "housing crisis."

"Even those who can expect to get a share of parental property wealth will inherit too late to use this to support living standards during the expensive child-rearing stage," the authors found.

The economic and cultural dominance of the baby boomers -- and criticism of boomer management during their long "reign of terror" -- remain hot media topics. The dominance of the boomers has been a source of angst for many. Reddit is full of angry, often poetically-phrased thoughts on the matter. Commenters chime in with suggestions for policy changes, humorous plans to take revenge, poignant personal observations, and general righteous outrage.

One person wrote, "Frankly, if the boomers aren't willing to cede some of their wealth to the young (e.g. by voting to remove policies like negative gearing, CGT concessions and super tax concessions - all of which are overwhelmingly used by wealthy boomers at the expense of other taxpayers, and attitudes such as refusing to hire young workers in favour of keeping older existing staff), we're going to fall off a demographic cliff. Aging populations can be managed, or they can spell poverty for everyone."

Another person said, "They had free education and cheap houses, endless entrepreneurial opportunities with f*** all competition. Why do we have to pay for them?"

A poetic commenter wrote, "Older generations are meant to plant trees that they will never see the shade of -- but collectively the boomers aren't just cutting down the trees of those that came before them, no, they're pouring salt on the earth."