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The $84T Wealth Transfer Underway Now, by the Numbers: Cerulli

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Between now and 2045, multigenerational wealth transfer in the U.S. will total $84.4 trillion, with $72.6 trillion in assets going to heirs and $11.9 trillion donated to charities, according to projections in a new report from Cerulli Associates.

As transfers lead to changes in both family dynamics and engagement preferences, wealth management firms that can remain on the cutting edge of complex planning and wealth structuring tactics will benefit, Cerulli said.

At the end of 2020, some 2 million high-net-worth households controlled nearly $25 trillion in investable assets, up from $19.6 trillion in 2019, according to the report. That accounts for 45% of total investable assets held by all households in the U.S. In comparison, wealthy households controlled 27% of total investable assets in 2010.

High-net-worth investors hold significant equity positions whose value has appreciated in recent years. Mutual/hedge funds and other managed assets comprise 54% of their investable assets, and 26% are in individual securities. 

Households with more than $5 million in investable assets will pay $4.2 trillion in taxes on their estates and transfers to heirs over the next 25 years, according to Cerulli projections.

See the gallery for five more of Cerulli’s projections of how the massive wealth transfer will play out over the next two decades.