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The Distribution of Financial Wealth Among Boomers

The arrival of the boomer generation (birth years 1946-64) at mid-life has generated new concerns about their ability to finance their retirement and the nation's ability to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits. This data digest, by John Gist, Ke Bin Wu, and Satyendra Verma of the AARP Public Policy Institute, examines boomers' nonannuitized wealth (that is, total wealth excluding Social Security and defined benefit pensions) over the period 1989-2001 to see how well prepared they are for retirement. In particular, the authors examine how boomer wealth is distributed by various economic and demographic characteristics. Net worth has grown steadily among boomers in the past few years, thanks to strong economic growth, but the median net worth of just over $100,000 is not sufficient without Social Security and DB pensions to ensure boomers' retirement security. (8 pages)