The Greatest Wealth Transfer in History

We spend so much time focused on disruption driven by advancement in science and technology – that we can lose sight of the massive amount of societal factors to be considered. When looking at the interplay between an exponential progression of innovation and those factors that impact society, we can see that the impacts run in Both Directions.

I have another factor to add to the Societal Portion of our emerging future visual: Wealth Transfer. According to this Recent Article, over the next two decades,Societal Factors the United States will experience an unprecedented shift of demographics and finances. Baby Boomers were born between 1944 and 1964. This generation is expected to transfer $30 trillion in wealth to younger generations over the next many years: what some have called the “great wealth transfer.” This is the first time in history that this amount of wealth will change hands. This generation controls roughly 70% of all disposable income.

The implications of this societal factor are wide reaching. For example, urbanization among our younger generations has taken many children away from their childhood homes. Does this process reverse when they inherit valuable property in the suburbs from their parents? Given the generational differences in attitudes and beliefs, how will those that inherit this wealth spend it? A 2018 study from suggests, Millennials are less willing to invest money in the market than previous generations. This could signal a larger and long-term shift of wealth out of the market into other areas.

These are all Dots that are Connecting towards a future that is simply too complex to predict. The visual I have used through the years to tell this story focuses on a series of dots that are connecting in ways that amplify impact and accelerate pace. It underscores the need for Systems Leadership and a keen ability to Connect these Dots in ways that allow us to drive positive progression, while mitigating the risk of unintended consequences.


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