Saturday, April 16, 2011

Asset Allocation of US Estates

More interesting statistics from the US IRS. 34,000 estates needed to pay estate tax in 2009 and the average value of these estates was $5.7 million. Assets were allocated as follows:

Of course, this is the allocation of assets at death and does not necessarily indicate the allocation of typical wealthy people. But it is interesting how it reflects on certain myths floating around in the personal finance world. One meme is that the wealthy invest most of their money in real estate, another would be that retirees should have most of their wealth in safe investments - i.e. cash and government bonds. Neither is true here. There is quite good diversification with a likely 35% or so allocation to stocks directly and via pensions and 401(k)s. We don't know what is in "other" but can assume that that includes direct business ownership and alternative investments. By comparison, my Mom's portfolio is allocated to 29% stocks, 29% bonds, 16% cash, 17% alternatives, and only 9% real estate is a little conservative. Of course, the portfolio is quite a bit smaller than the typical one represented here :)

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