Three-quarters of people responding to a new survey said they don't expect to inherit money, but financial experts say they might be too pessimistic.
In the survey, conducted by Interest.com, a financial planning site, just 27 percent of respondents age 18 to 59 said they expect to receive an inheritance from their parents or other family. Even those who believe there will be something left over for them aren't expecting a huge windfall. Among respondents who do expect to inherit money, property or valuables, roughly half say it would be worth less than $100,000; a quarter think they'll inherit between $10,000 and $50,000.
But those who expect nothing may be bracing for the worst, said Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com. "Younger people tend to be perhaps too conservative in estimating whether or not they'll get an inheritance because they don't want to think about it," Sante said.
"The baby boomer generation is, without question, going to be the largest wealth transfer in American history …from them to the next generation," Gabrielsen said.
A certain amount of pessimism might be justified, however. New research from the Dallas Federal Reserve makes what it calls a "conservative estimate" that every American household lost between $50,000 and $120,000 in economic output over the course of the financial crisis and recession.