Theoretically, a great fortune will go to the heirs of my boomer cohort. Economic models project that by the middle of this century, at least $41 trillion will transfer to estates and bequests for today's infants and teenagers. Just to be safe, however, the kids should develop some skills.
I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that my husband and I won't add much to the $41 trillion handoff. Not to shortchange our two kids, but they should not expect an inheritance from us. We instead direct them to self-reliant futures built on luck, determination, and enterprise. We've funded their educations and are glad to help, within reason, on housing. Our 20-year-old son in San Francisco, in his second year as a college sophomore, will inescapably be on our rent and tuition payroll for some time. Though I am confident he will one day be independent, he asked us recently, in all earnestness: "What is the deal with taxes and insurance?"
Our single daughter, 16 years ahead of her brother, is a NYC documentary filmmaker. A few years ago, we loaned her the down payment for her Chelsea co-op apartment. The loan will undoubtedly outlive the lenders as her mortgage endures, but the cozy fourth-floor walk-up forms the beginnings of her estate. What becomes of it from here is entirely up to her.