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UK millennials will inherit way more of their wealth than the generations before them

Euro, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and Chinese 100-yuan banknotes are seen in a picture illustration shot January 21, 2016.
Reuters/Jason Lee
Thanks parents!
  • Amanda Shendruk
By Amanda Shendruk

Visual journalist

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Family inheritances will be an increasingly large part of lifetime income for Gen X and Millenials in the UK.

The amount handed down to those born in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s is getting consecutively larger, reports the UK Institute for Fiscal Studies (pdf). However, average lifetime wealth isn’t expected to increase. This means those born later will attribute more and more of their individual wealth to what their parents pass on.

On average, for adults born in the 1980s, the researchers estimate inheritances will make up 14% of their overall lifetime income, up from 8% for those born in in the 1960s. As many as one in ten will inherit more than half as much wealth as the average person earns in a lifetime.

If parents accumulate and spend their wealth similarly to those in the past, researchers found the median inheritance for those born in the 1980s will be £136,000 ($176,971). Those born in the 1960s can expect less than half that, £66,000 ($85,883). This increase for those born later is partially due to higher levels of parental wealth, and fewer children to divide it among. Researchers expect there to be inequalities in the distribution, predicting that a fifth of people born each decade won’t receive any significant inheritance at all.

This story is part of a new series we’re trying, “The Thing,” in which we examine what a single chart can tell us about the global economy. 

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