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Key Findings Details

The Assets and Liabilities of Cohorts: The Antecedents of Retirement Security
J. Michael Collins, John Karl Scholz and Ananth Seshadri
WP 2013-296

  • Households with a head born 1929-1943 (age 67-81 by 2010) and then those born in 1944-1958 (age 52-66 by 2010) had similar wealth levels at the same age/life stages. The younger group does not appear to be falling behind.
  • Households born from 1929-1943 had higher mean and median total debt at every age/life stage relative to those born 1944-1958. Debt is mainly driven by mortgages.
  • Growing debt levels for more recent cohorts of households have not resulted in lowered net worth, however.
  • Education remains a strong predictor of net wealth status with and schooling after high school associated with 4-5 times the net worth of households with high school or less education.
  • Minorities have few financial assets and their wealth is concentrated in non-financial assets such as housing.

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