Although much has changed in the retirement planning landscape during the past seven years, baby boomers and their parents remain focused on the emotional elements of legacy transfer rather than purely financial aspects of inheritance, according to a study by Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America.
The new American Legacies Pulse Study, released last week, reprises a similar study Allianz Life conducted in 2005.
Eighty-six percent of boomers (age 47–66) and 74% of elders (age 72 and older) agreed that family stories were the most important aspect of their legacy, ahead of personal possessions (64% for boomers, 58% for elders) and the expectation of inheritance for financial well-being (9% and 14%).
Despite the tumultuous interim years, these findings echoed results in 2005, when 77% of both boomers and elders cited the importance of family values and life lessons as the most important part of legacy.
Furthermore, boomers and elders still agreed that inheritance is not “owed.” Only 4% said they felt they were owed an inheritance—the same percentage as in 2005.
In addition, fewer elders in the current study said they owed their children an inheritance. This change could reflect elders’ concern about potentially needing their savings for living expenses, Allianz Life said in a statement.
The study found that boomers and their parents agreed on what part of legacy transfer was most valuable, but were not in sync on actually doing the work of legacy planning. Three-quarters of elders had obtained professional assistance in planning their inheritance, and 79% had had an in-depth discussion with their children about legacy planning.