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Boomers’ wealth eyed to aid rural development in state

NNBW Staff

The wealth that Baby Boomers have accumulated their own, as well as inheritances from their parents potentially could help fuel economic development in rural Nevada.

The state’s Commission on Economic Development last week rolled out a study that found households in the state have a total net worth of $274 billion.

In the next 10 years, about $33.5 billion of that will be transferred to the next generation, estimates a study conducted by Nebraska’s RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.

The study was requested by the Commis-sion on Economic Development and the Com-munity Foundation of Western Nevada, which receives charitable funds from individuals and makes grants to meet community needs.

If a share of those funds 5 percent, for instance were given to community agencies, the impact could be significant, state officials say.

Rural communities, for instance, often lose bright young people and are unable to attract entrepreneurs to start new companies because of skimpy community services.

“We need to provide a complete package in rural areas,” said Joe Locurto, who oversees rural economic development for the state. “Youth leave because they don’t find the amenities they’ll want in their adult

lives.”

Bequests, he said, can help fund everything from better parks to better schools in rural communities and big cities, for that matter and make them more attractive places for businesses to land.

In fact, the creation of programs to tap into wealth when it’s transferred is identified as one of the key elements to help rural areas survive as Nevada rolls out its Home Competitiveness program. (The other elements are encouraging entrepreneurs, retaining youth and developing leadership.)

The new study finds substantial wealth even in far-flung rural counties.

In Humboldt County, for instance, household wealth in 2005 totaled nearly $1.2 billion. If 5 percent of the money that’s expected to be transferred from one generation to the next in the next 10 years is donated to charities and invested conservatively, the payout could be $280,000 a year to aid Winnemucca and other communities in the county.

In Washoe County, 5 percent donations would result in an annual payout of nearly $14.5 million.

The study, which uses 2005 figures, found that Washoe County’s average household wealth of $331,000 was second only to Douglas County, where household wealth averaged $411,000. Lander County had the lowest figure at $153,000. Carson City’s average household wealth of $314,000 was above the state

average of $302,000 in 2005.

The Community Center Foundation of Western Nevada has offered to establish affiliates in rural

communities to provide cost-effective administration of bequests and grants.

NNBW staff


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