Many young, affluent women admit that they would have no idea where to look for important family financial documents if their parents died.
Researchers at the MainStay Investments unit of New York Life Insurance Company, New York, have published data supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a survey of 987 U.S. residents ages 27 to 60 with at least $250,000 in investable assets.
The researchers classified participants born from 1965 to 1979 as GenXers; participants born from 1956 to 1964 as Late Baby Boomers; and participants born from 1946 to 1955 as Early Boomers.
About 72% of the GenXers and Boomers interviewed agreed with this statement: “If my parent(s) were to pass away, I (or one of my siblings) know what we need to do and whom we need to contact to settle the estate.”
Similarly, 63% of the GenXers and Boomers agreed that, “If my parent(s) were to pass away, I would be able to locate all of the critical financial records and documents required to settle the estate fairly easily.”
But the researchers found that the GenXer women interviewed either were far less informed about their parents’ financial affairs or far more honest about their level of ignorance.
Only 57% of the GenXer women said they would know what to do and whom to contact to settle the estate, and only 54% said they would be able to locate the critical financial records and documents required to settle the estate fairly easily.
About a third of the parents included in the survey said they had not spoken to their children about the location of financial assets for the purposes of wealth transfer.
Many financial professionals and others believe that affluent consumers fail to communicate about wealth transfer and estate planning because of emotional concerns, according to Beverly Moore, a managing director at MainStay.
“Our study shows that this is simply not true,” Moore says in a statement about the results. “The real reason these conversations have not been had is due to inertia among family members.”