The Great Wealth Transfer Finally Here?

For years, I’ve been working on a powerpoint slide showing the tidal wave of the Great Wealth transfer (in projected numbers, of course) finally arriving.

I am not quite there yet on that particular slide but I have started to cull together very interesting data that shows the waves are beginning to swell!

Got your attention?  This Thursday I am giving a FREE webinar for Donor Search on this topic – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Here is the rest of info on the free session:

Thu, Jun 30, 2016 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

20 years after the infamous Boston College predictions were made, are we finally seeing signs of the Great Wealth Transfer? Jonathan Gudema, planned giving blogger and obsessive, will present key statistics from the most recent sources including higher education VSE/CAE surveys, Giving USA, the IRS and more – all indicating that Planned Giving is on the rise.

An attorney and fundraiser, Jonathan has over 19 years of experience working with and advising non-profit organizations on planned gift arrangements and tax-advantaged charitable estate planning options.


Great Wealth Transfer Is Back?

I am going to admit that throwing around the idea of Trillions of dollars in Wealth Transfer going to Nonprofits over the next 46 years actually makes my brain a little tired. Actually, just seeing an email from Paul Schervish this week got me a bit sleepy.

Want to read the latest Wealth Transfer predictions from Boston College and Mr. Schervish, here you go:

How about the headline?

New Report Predicts U.S. Wealth Transfer of $59Trillion, With $6.3 Trillion in Charitable Bequests, from 2007-2061
Additional Lifetime Giving of $20.6 Trillion, Say Boston College Researchers

How about the highlights?

  • Through estates, heirs will receive $36 trillion.
  • Federal estate taxes will claim $5.6 trillion.
  • The sum directed from final estates (for which there is no surviving spouse) toward charity is estimated at $6.3 trillion.
  • Total gifts to charity during the study period are vastly greater, according to the study, which estimates that lifetime giving will yield an additional $20.6 trillion for charity from 2007-2061

I know it sounds like a lot of money for nonprofits, through Planned Giving no less, but it still gets me weary looking at this stuff.

What do you think?

What ever happened to the Boston College/Havens-Schervish Wealth Transfer predictions?

I probably owe some part of my career in planned giving to the so-called “Wealth Transfer” predictions by John Havens and Paul Schervish in the late 90’s.  They created an incredible amount of publicity with bold predictions of “Trillions” of dollars heading to nonprofits via planned giving/bequests.  Every few years, I like to revisit their predictions and see how close we are 🙂

Here is my updated slide looking at Schervish and Havens’ minimum (I mean minimum!) wealth transfer to nonprofits:

Wealth Transfer Prophecy

Oops.  So they were off target by more than a $Trillion on their first prediction.

All kidding aside, and putting aside their ridiculous predictions (you make big predictions like theirs, you better at least be close), something is still coming.  But, the impact on planned giving (as a result of the aging of the baby boomers) won’t be felt for another 5 years – according to Dr. Russell James in his recent webinar (click here for a free viewing).

Dr. James’ reason for the 5-year period is simple:  that is when the oldest boomers will start reaching age 72 and  up.  In other words, planned giving won’t feel any Wealth Transfer uptic until boomers start passing away in noticeable numbers.

Maybe I need to  come up with realistic predictions for 2018 and beyond! It won’t be the tidal wave that my slide is showing but it will surely be a big jump from these relatively flat bequests years that we are currently in.

What is our takeaway from this dose of reality?  Nonprofits need to put aside the fantasy predictions (and their failure to materialize) and focus on the facts that we need to invest over the next five years in our planned giving programs to be ready for the real wave that is coming.  Not based on faulty predictions  but a reality that people get old and eventually pass away.  There are just more people in the baby boomer generation – so much more that it’s inevitable that the impact will reach nonprofits via planned giving.

Here are two other visuals from Dr. Russell James on the same issue – sorry Professors Schervish and Havens, your predictions look like duds 🙂

The prediction

The reality