We are in the middle of an intergenerational transfer of wealth so significant it has earned the name “The Great Transfer.” Over $12 trillion in financial and non-financial assets is changing hands, moving from the Greatest Generation—those born in the 1920s and 1930s—to the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. The figures are impressive, but they pale in comparison to the so-called “Greater Transfer” on the horizon.

Over the next 30 to 40 years, in North America alone, an additional $30 trillion in assets will pass from Boomers to their heirs. Between 2031 and 2045, when the transfer reaches its peak, 10 percent of total wealth in the United States will be changing hands every five years.

A great opportunity with significant challenges

Read the report.
Read the report.

Capitalizing on these intergenerational shifts in wealth will be critical for the long-term success of wealth management firms, but many are unprepared. In addition to its scale, what makes this wealth transfer particularly challenging is the aging advisor pool. The average age of wealth advisors is 49 in the United States and 54 in Canada. As advisors near retirement, they tend to be less motivated to build relationships with their clients’ children.

So what can be done? Next week, I will discuss what sets Boomers apart from their heirs and the strategies that wealth management firms can use to appeal to these two very different groups.

In the meantime, I would like to hear more about your experiences on the ground. Have your advisors already noted movement in client assets? What steps is your organization taking to prepare for this unprecedented intergenerational transfer of wealth?

To learn more, download The “Greater” Wealth Transfer (pdf; opens in a new window).