It’sa bit of a cliche now but spending the kids’ inheritance is exactly what many grey nomads are doing … and most are pretty unrepentant.
A survey conducted by US investment advisers TD Ameritrade says just 16% of parents plan on leaving anything at all to their kids.
While the lure, and expense, of the open road explains why some of the younger generation are going to come up empty handed at ‘Last Will and Testament’ time, simple economics explains the rest.
“The baby boomers are just not financially prepared,” Australian social analyst David Chalke told the Grey Nomads website. “A quarter will still have a mortgage, and two thirds are genuinely worried about being able to service their own retirement, let alone leaving anything behind.”
And, it seems, even the lucky ones who are wealthy enough to help out the kids aren’t so sure they want to.
“The boomers left school at 16, got married at 20, got settled, got a home and had kids,” Mr Chalke said. “Now they look at their own children who are in their 30s, aren’t married, don’t have their own houses, but who have good careers and who holiday twice a year at Macchu Picchu … and they say ‘you can look after yourselves’.”
If they are fit and healthy, and have the money, Mr Chalke says it s no surprise that grey nomads are loading up the van or motorhome and adopting a ‘skins’ attitude – that is “spend the kids’ inheritance now”.
However, while most baby boomers are refusing to grow old gracefully, we shouldn’t feel too sorry for their offspring.
“Today’s generation will have been paying super since they were 20 and will be just fine at the end of their working lives,” says Mr Chalke. “And with the birth rate declining they will have less siblings to share whatever inheritance they get with … so they will definitely be able to afford to buy their own giant motorhome when their time comes.”
While people are not retiring earlier, they are most definitely living longer and that can mean only one thing.
“The grey nomad lifestyle is alive and well,” said Mr Chalke. “And it will be for generations to come.”