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Keywords:

  • baby boomers;
  • intergenerational processes;
  • social mobility;
  • social stratification;
  • wealth mobility;
  • wealth ownership

This study compares wealth ownership and mobility patterns among baby boomers and their parents to explore whether the baby boomers have fared as well during their working years and whether they will be as secure in retirement as their parents. Cohort comparisons using survey data indicate that baby boomers had accumulated more wealth as young adults than their parents had at a similar age. Estimates from a simulation model reveal that baby boomers had more wealth than their actual same-sex parents at every stage of the life course. The simulation model also reveals that baby boomers were considerably more likely than their actual same-sex parents to experience upward wealth mobility at each point in the life course. These results suggest that speculations that baby boomers may be the first generation to do worse than their parents are misleading.