Four recent studies reveal that wealth inequality among boomers specifically has been growing, turning this massive generation into one of haves and have nots. The nonpartisan reports, which analyzed boomers’ retirement security, financial assets and housing status, come from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); the National Institute on Retirement Security think tank; the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Wealth disparities continue as we age. The GAO reviewed the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances data for households with people 55 or older and said that although disparities in income decreased as older Americans aged from their 50s into their 70s, “disparities in wealth persisted.” The continued wealth disparities among older Americans, the GAO noted, “may be due to significant differences in the median value of retirement accounts and home equity between higher- and lower-earning households.”
This finding echoes what the St. Louis Fed determined looking at wealth inequality overall in America. It determined that “wealth inequality has grown tremendously from 1989 to 2016, to the point where the top 10% of families ranked by household wealth own 77% of the wealth ‘pie.’ The bottom half of families ranked by household wealth own only 1% of the pie.”