Less Of A Thrill From Dad's Will

That bumper sticker you see in Florida or Arizona--"I'm Spending My Children's Inheritance"--may be truer than you suspect. A shift since the 1960s in the way the elderly manage their resources has resulted in greater security and spending for older people but skimpier savings for the U.S. economy. As senior citizens depend more and more on annuities--income flows that last only as long as the owner survives--they're collecting less in assets that can be left to their heirs as bequests. And that has taken a big bite out of national savings, according to a recent study by Alan J. Auerbach of the University of California at Berkeley and other economists.

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