A few years ago, a trio of Citibank analysts created quite a stir when they published two memos suggesting that the American economy had become a “plutonomy” – one that is highly and disproportionately controlled by the extremely wealthy.  According to these analysts, the market is made up of only two segments – the very wealthy and everyone else.   When looking ahead to the millions of baby boomers who will be retiring in the next 15 years, it’s not hard to envision the idea of retirement turning into a “plutirement,” with two very different retirement realities facing your clients.

Beyond the 1% statistics that gave rise to the Occupy Wall Street movement, further evidence for such a scenario can be found in the most recent (2010) Survey of Consumer Finances.  According to the SCF, the mean net worth for families headed by an individual age 55-64 is $880,000, while the median net worth is only $179,000.  That huge disparity means that the amount of wealth held by those on the upper end of the spectrum exceeds the lower and middle portions by such a vast amount that they are able to pull the numbers of even those in the middle tier up by over four times.  That same basic ratio holds true for ages 45-54 and those 65-74 as well.

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