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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Baby boomers and older Americans had accumulated a net worth of around $35 trillion by the end of this year's first quarter, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What's happening: The money is now going to their heirs and others, "unleashing a torrent of economic activity including buying homes, starting businesses and giving to charity," the Journal writes. They are expected to hand down around $70 trillion between 2018 and 2042.

  • $61 trillion is expected to go to their millennial and Generation X heirs, and the rest will be going to charity, according to research and consulting firm Cerulli Associates, cited by WSJ.

By the numbers: The $35 trillion represents 27% of all U.S. wealth, an increase from the 20% they had three decades ago, the Journal notes. Federal data shows that their wealth represents 157% of U.S. gross domestic product.

  • The average inheritance received in 2019 amounted to $212,854, compared to $146,844 in 1998.
  • Baby boomers have started giving away part of their wealth ahead of their deaths, as the "[a]nnual gifts taxpayers reported to the Internal Revenue Service—a fraction of the gifts that flow outside the tax system—rose to $75 billion in 2016, from an inflation-adjusted $45 billion in 2010," per WSJ.

The big picture: "Inheritances and gifts can bring financial stability to some recipients, and for others can provide the freedom to take more risk—something data have shown drives a greater willingness to invest in stocks, and an increase in riskier work ventures, such as starting a business, that have the potential for bigger payoffs," according to the Journal.

Go deeper

Sep 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Warner warns he may vote against $3.5 trillion budget

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) walks near the Senate Chamber during a vote at the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 7. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is warning that he could vote against the $3.5 trillion budget package if more money isn’t added for housing assistance to close the racial wealth gap in the current House version of the bill, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Warner’s threat is another indication that the proposal will face a variety of obstacles before the House and Senate can agree to a top-line number, how that money is spent on specific programs — and how to pay for it all.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 14, 2021 - Technology

Facebook allows prominent users to break rules

Signage in front of the Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has long said that it applies the same rules to all posts, but internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal paint a picture of a company that allowed millions of politicians, celebrities and other high-profile users to break those rules without consequence.

Why it matters: It's hard to limit misinformation on a platform when you give a free pass to those with the most reach.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

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