According to data from the Federal Reserve (learn more), first highlighted by Scott Burns of the Statesman Journal, the cost of being in the top one percent for income escalates dramatically as people get older.
For people in their 40s, it takes a total net worth of $5.8 million to get into the one percent. For people in their 50s, it takes nearly $10 million. For people in their 60s, it takes around $11.6 million.
In other words, it takes twice as much wealth to be in the one percent for someone who’s 65 compared to someone who’s 45.
This matters for two reasons. First, it tells us that there are really two wealth gaps in America — the gap between the rich and the rest, and the gap between the young and the old. Of course, it’s natural for wealth to accumulate over a lifetime. Yet the wealthy gap by age is growing rapidly. (Read More: How ‘Lynching’ the Rich Could Hurt the Rest of Us)
Census data shows that the wealth gap between 35-year-olds and 65-year-olds is double what it was in 2005, as the recession (learn more) hurt opportunities for younger workers and college grads.