Are You Being Squeezed? Money Strategies For The Sandwich Generation
An increasing number of Americans between the ages of 45 to 65 years find themselves caught in the challenging position of caring for their aging parents, while also raising their children or grandchildren. If you belong to this “sandwich generation” it can be a difficult juggling act.
Are You Being Squeezed?
Everyone’s family situation is different and your priorities will reflect it. Perhaps your parents are facing difficulties with chronic illnesses and are in need of your frequent assistance to stay in their home. Perhaps you have a young family, a mortgage, a busy career and your parents need a few hours a week of help. Perhaps you’re close to retirement age and financially supporting a parent and an adult child at home. Whatever your situation is , if you aren’t “squeezed” yet, think about how soon you might face these challenges and how long those commitments may last.
To ensure you achieve your own goals, it is important to be clear about your expectations and needs while supporting other family members. Early planning can go a long way to ease emotional and financial stress.
Steps You Can Take:
Understand Your Parents Goals, Needs and Resources:
- Gain an understanding of your parent’s financial situation. Review their assets, debts, income sources, pension and life insurance information. Know where the important documents are so you can access them if need be.
- Living arrangements For Your Parent(s) – Do they want to sell their home? Downsize? There are ways to unlock home equity and free up income for their living expenses.
- Long Term Care Insurance– Communicate with your parents about their own retirement planning and discuss obtaining long-term care insurance. Long term care insurance can help secure income for them without putting a strain on you.
- Communication is key – Keep communication open between family members. If your parents become incapable of managing their own affairs you might have to act on their behalf. If so, they will need to legally designate you as their representative.
Plan For Your Retirement and Protect Your Income:
- Have a plan in place for your own retirement as well as your children’s education.
- Protect your income. It is very important especially if you have multi generations counting on you. Consider purchasing Disability Insurance and/or Critical Illness Coverage. Statistics show the average working person has a higher chance of becoming disabled or becoming critically ill than dying.
- Review Your Life Insurance Coverage. You will need enough life insurance to cover major expenses such as your mortgage, final expenses, education for your children and to be able to fund the future expenses of your loved ones.
Continue To Focus On Your Own Goals:
As a “sandwich generationer” you are being pulled in many directions so don’t lose sight of your own needs and goals. It is natural for you to want to do everything you can to help your children and your aging parents. The important point to remember is not to do it at the expense of yourself. It is important to stay well and healthy both physically and financially for all involved.
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Written by: Robin Fox, RHU, CSA