Past inheritances and inheritance expectations in Europe
Centre for Research on Ageing and Society University of Vechta Vechta, Germany
The global crisis of the financial markets has not only destroyed assets worth of billions of Euros but also inheritance expectations to a comparable extent. This has clearly negative consequences for those who rely on their family?s fortunes as provision for one?s old age. Past inheritances contribute to old age saving substantially as findings from the German Ageing Survey show: among the German population aged 40 to 85 about half reported receipt of an inheritance amounting to 70 000 Euro on average. Furthermore, beneficiaries are often already retired themselves when they inherit, due to the observable increase in life expectancy.
The focus of this paper is to compare past inheritances and inheritance expectations throughout Europe and to discuss the relevance of inheritances for old age saving. The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) contains strictly comparative data for the elderly population of 15 European countries form Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and provides a unique opportunity for studying inheritances and its most important correlates in the population aged 50 and above.