From a recent Pew Research poll and study, a consideration of net financial worth of Americans in 2010. (“Net financial worth” being savings accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, and even pensions -- exclusive of home value but seemingly inclusive of investments.). Again, this is net financial worth (wealth exclusive of R/E), not annual income.
First, median net financial worth (meaning that half of our citizens are below the following levels):
• WWII babies — $46,000 (i.e., now at least 69)
• Early boomers (b. 1946-55) — $55,000 (now at least 59, at or hovering near retirement age)
• Late boomers (b. 1956-65) — $32,000 (now at least 49, with fifteen years or so left to accumulate net financial worth)
Then, average net financial worth:
• Depression babies — $42,000 (people at least in their 70s)
• WWII babies — $60,000
• Early boomers (b. 1946-55) — $75,000
These are figures for individuals, but even if we call most of them couples and double the figures, it’s frighteningly little to live on for ten years, let alone maybe twenty-five with God’s will. It certainly leaves no room for further investment income of a smashing $180/month on, say, $100,000 principal, assuming the folks don’t eat or heat their homes or get sick. (Thanks to FDR for Social Security — and may those who today would gut that program themselves die in wretched poverty and pain.)
The wealth — net financial worth — of our top-ten-percenters is of course included in both those median and average figures, and even those grotesque imbalances at the top fail to lift the median and average levels from their shocking depths. What does that tell us? More important, what effect will these retirement years of abysmally low net worths have on our society? What will the Easters be like for the lower (say) seventy percent of us — and their Christmases?