Inheritances

This excerpt below comes from “The Son Also Rises”, by Gregory Clark, which I have recommended for many reasons. I copy an aside he writes about receiving one’s inheritance, an event I look forward to with mixed emotions, as my mother approaches 100 years old, and I apply for my old age pension

Greater longevity is making the circulation of wealth in modern economies increasingly socially dysfunctional. In 1858-69, when our data on deaths begins, the average age for those with wills proved was 62. Given an average gap of thirty years between generations, wealth was inherited by children on average at age 32, just as they were rearing their own children and buying housing. But now people are, on average, fifty years old when they inherit any wealth from their parents. By they they typically own their own house and cars, and their own children have completed much of their education. If longevity continues to increase, then, despite increases in average age at which women produce children, wealth will increasingly pass from the ancient to the aged.