Are you part of the sandwich generation? If you are caught in the middle of taking care of your parents that are 65 or older at the same time of taking care of your children then you are part of the sandwich generation.
33% of the Baby Boomer generation fit in this generation while 42% of Generation Xers fit into this generation. This is a tough situation to be in. For many of the sandwich generation they have to figure out how to care for and financially support their parents all while caring for and financially supporting their minor or even grown children.
This situation can be overwhelming. Not only can it take a tole on you financially but it is also very overwhelming because it takes so much of your time and attention as well.
Typically when we fall into this "sandwich generation" it wasn't something we were planning on doing over the years. Because of that we usually put ourselves on the back burner. We don't put ourselves on the back burner just because but we do it because we usually have no other options. What sort of things go on the back burner when you become part of the sandwich generation?
Firstly, your own financial stability. Many times you have to hold off on saving for retirement and other savings while you take care of your parents and children. You may also have to forget about big purchases that you were thinking of doing. The one good thing about this is that you really start to focus on buying only the things you need an you forget about the excess.
Secondly, your own time and health can be neglected. Many times our parents and children will take so much of your efforts that you will not have time to worry about your own health and well-being. This is all normal, but you need to remember that they depend on you so much that making time for yourself is mandatory. If you aren't healthy or are stressed you can't care for those that need you as well.
These are just two things that may happen to you has you become part of the sandwich generation. Luckily, there are some things you can do to insure that you make this new life trial as good as possible. The following tips will help help you to survive and thrive while being part of the sandwich generation.
It is important to make sure you set boundaries for those who are depending on you. For example, is your child moving home from college? If so, talk about how they can help ease the financial burdens that they and your parents will put on you. Having them help out with rent or food is a great way to have them hep out. This is a good thing too as it forces them to look for a job. If for whatever reason looking for a job and helping financial isn't for them what about helping out watch and take care of your parents? The idea here is that they can help out and ease the burden of finances or taking care of your parents. These rules and boundaries are very important to establish right away.
It is not uncommon for you to have to even set financial boundaries for your parents as well. There are things you need to look at that your parents won't want but that may benefit you. These tpes of things can be hard to talk about with your parents but they must be done. Long-term care insurance may be something that may benefit you and your parents. You must let your loved one know that in order for you to give them the best care possible that you need their help. It is great to lay everything on the table and to speak openly, honestly, and from the heart. This will help them to be able to come to terms and help you help them in the best way possible.
Put Your Boundaries To Work
If it is too hard to talk with your parents or child about helping out and setting boundaries you may need the help of a financial advisor and estate professionals to get on the same page. A financial advisor and estate attorney can help spell out the families goals and can help create a plan to implement those goals.
Going the whole nine yards and creating a plan with those to help you create and enforce the plan (financial advisor and estate professionals) will lead to a much higher chance of success.
If you are part of the sandwich generation setting boundaries and creating a plan to implement those boundaries is going to allow you to care for those while not forgetting about your own financial situation. You must not neglect your own retirement savings when setting a few boundaries will allow you continue to save for retirement and any other financial issues that may come your way. Planning for the extra mile is also very wise. If you have children going to college that you are paying for look into ways to help them manage spending on books, trips and food. Along with any issues that may come up if you cosign with them on a credit card. Either way, the more prepared you can be for all the situations you are in the better.
It comes down to this… Saving isn't just important, but vital. It is important to save no matter if you are part of the sandwich generation or not. If you are not saving for your retirement, START NOW.
Author: Nick Barker