by CareyAnn Peterson
Are you one of the struggling members of the Sandwich Generation? There have been a growing number of people who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their aging parents while simultaneously caring for their own children, known as the “Sandwich Generation.” This term has developed over the last two decades to describe this group who has found themselves “sandwiched” between two generations that are both in need of some kind of care. Even if you are not a part of this group, you likely know someone who is. According to the Pew Research Center, 10 million baby boomers are giving financial support to their children and at least one parent.
There are several contributing factors as to why there is an increase in the number of people finding themselves in this predicament. One reason is the increase in the average life expectancy of Americans. Many are finding themselves running out of money in their older ages. With the rising cost of health care and living expenses, they cannot make ends meet.
Boomers also waited to have children, making it more common for them to simultaneously have younger children and older parents. In addition, many boomers are providing financial support for their adult children who are struggling in the current economy or are still in college.
If you are worried about finding yourself in this situation, there are steps you can take to prevent some of these burdens:
– Talk to your parents about their financial plans. Do they have long-term care insurance or plans if they can no longer care for themselves? If they haven’t made adequate arrangements, help them explore their options and get the best possible plans in place.
– Give your children more responsibility. You may want to pay for big-ticket items like cars and college for your children, but passing on this responsibility could relieve much of your financial burden allowing you to save more for your own retirement. People will line up to give your child a loan for college, but nobody will give you a loan for your retirement.
– Don’t put yourself last. There are government programs in place that can aid your elderly parents and your children’s college costs. There’s no way to predict if you will ever be able to benefit from such programs so creating a solid financial plan for yourself should be your focus.
Always remember, if you need help creating your financial plan, we are happy to help!