There is a major, seismic shift in assets occurring while you read this. You are thinking of the $12 Trillion which is pouring into the pockets of Baby Boomers as their hardworking, scrimping and saving parents pass into the great beyond. But you are off.
In truth, the money is peanuts. It moves from one bank account to the next, and nobody lifts a finger.
So, it’s not about their money. It’s really about their stuff.
There are two legacies which those post-wartime parents are sending along. They promise profound effect upon us, and to generations still coming.
The first is a treasure of property which they struggled to build and acquire through thick and thin. Too vast to itemize, but most Boomers will recognize the impact of their parents’ fully executed Last Will.
They are manifested in crowded basements, overflowing garages, leases on storage space, impenetrable walk-in closets, jammed kitchen drawers, and cabinets crammed with silver and china.
The second legacy, even more profound, is a culture of saving. The Baby Boomer was raised in a household characterized by frugal economy. Nothing half-used ever got thrown out. A broken item was in queue for repair, some day.
Again, the inventory of leftovers is virtually infinite. Its aura a phenomenon.
And you know it when you see it in the eyes of a Boomer. That wince of remorse as a half-good string of Christmas lights hits the garbage bin. Or the guilt attached to an old set of dull drill bits, that holds its place on the workshop bench, right beside a brand new set.
The reality is, while the Boomer is swamped in their folks’ stuff, they still can’t throw it out. What’s worse, they are adding to it.
For example, a few days ago while driving down Milwaukee Avenue, I spied four baseballs resting in the gutter. To me, it was like driving by a bank vault with the door wide open.
As kids, we could only envy the one on our street who had a baseball. In fact, most of our youth was focused on scavenging for baseballs knocked out of the park, hockey pucks stuffed in snowbanks, broken hockey sticks, errant golf balls found on the road.
In our garage is a 5-gallon bucket full to overflowing with tennis balls, golf balls, lacrosse balls, wiffle balls, softballs…all items I have brought home like trophies from a jog around the park.
So I collect these play things like gold nuggets, feeding an appetite that was spawned a couple of generations ago when people just didn’t have much money.
Back to Milwaukee Avenue. I pulled over, parked, and scurried across the street and retrieved the balls. I could not believe my find. These were in excellent condition, leather covers, no scuffs, and laces still waxed and shiny. Bonanza! The motherlode.
They are now on the shelf beside the bucket, which is full.
The significance of this perpetual foraging will become apparent to the next generation, those GenX-ers and Y-ers, and wet-eared Millennials who will finally have to deal with The Stuff.
You may want to give The Stuff to them, but you can’t. They are still living with their parents.
My suggestion: this is the time to invest and build. Look closely at your business prospects in:
1. Storage space
2. Trailer rentals
3. Thrift stores
5. Waste management
Regrettably we haven’t yet found a way to load it all onto a freighter, and sail it to a Third World depot, but that would be the next best opportunity.
Thanks for reading this far. It’s a puzzle I really can’t solve.
I have to get back to repairing our Monopoly board.