Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wealth Trends From the Times

The New York Times' latest Wealth section offers more substance than most. A few gleanings:

The aging of inheritance. Seventy years ago Merrill Anderson published its first newsletter. Back then, estate planning articles assumed readers well might die before their children were grown. These days, The Times points out, the children may be ready to retire before they inherit from their parents. 

Unchanged over the years is the behavior of those receiving sudden wealth. Some feel a sense of stewardship; others don't. Some find it hard to break sentimental ties to an inherited home or large block of stock. 

The proliferation of family foundations. "There are now over 40,000 family foundations in the United States, making grants totaling more than $21.3 billion a year," The Times reports, "up from about 3,200 family foundations doling out $6.8 billion in 2001…" Few are big-league foundations; sixty percent have assets of less than $1 million.

The absurdity of top incomes. In 2012, "the average household in the bottom 90 percent of the income distribution earned about $30,997. For the average household in the top 1 percent, the figure is $1,264,065…." As for the top 0.1 percent, well, look at the chart.
Late in the article, The Times acknowledges that really high incomes seldom persist. Most one-percenters can't maintain their privileged position for five years.

No comments: