Teens: Mom and Dad Will Leave Me Enough to Retire

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Young Americans who grew up during the Great Recession apparently did not learn much from their parents' money woes. There is a major disconnect between many of their financial wishes and realities.

Nearly 40 percent of Generation Z, those ages 13 to 22, expect to receive an inheritance, according to a recent TD Ameritrade study. As a result, they don't believe that they will need to save for retirement.

"There is a little bit of the halo effect of youth vs. the reality of what the situation will be like," says Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services at TD Ameritrade. In fact, the odds are slim that young adults will inherit wealth because their parents face a less secure retirement world, with stock market turmoil and mounting health care costs.

Only 16 percent of parents said that they expect to provide an inheritance, says the TD Ameritrade study. The fact that many parents are scaling back on bequests does not necessarily mean that they can't afford to provide an inheritance.

Among adults with at least $100,000 in investable assets, 58 percent say leaving an inheritance is not a primary concern, according to a PNC survey. Instead, 42 percent say that saving for retirement is their primary financial goal, while passing on money to a future generation is far down the list. Only 2 percent say it is a primary financial goal.

Young adults are just starting out in life and most of them are used to having their needs taken care of by their parents, Braxdale says.

But, as research shows, many parents are helping to pay for the rising cost of a college education. And they don't expect their kids to help if they run out of money in retirement.

Kids need to know that their parents face a more risky retirement future. In the past, seniors relied on pensions, Social Security and investments. And they could count on setting aside some of their savings for their families.

Today, seniors worry that Social Security and Medicare will not always be there for them, according to PNC. And low interest rates make it harder for retirees to live off of interest and save the rest of their savings for their kids, says Stephen Pappaterra, managing director of wealth planning for PNC Wealth Management.

But their biggest concern is the rising cost of health care, because Americans are living longer. "If they live to 95," Pappaterra says, "they feel that they better have enough money to keep themselves comfortable."