When you're caught between the financial pressures of parents and children, you have to plan ahead.When caring for your children and parents, it is especially important to hone your budget and routinely assess your financial situation.
The Sandwich Generation – adults who simultaneous care for children and aging parents –Individuals who find themselves in the sandwich generation are forced with contemplating taking care of things today in a way that may negatively impact their future. Family members might cut back on their work hours or sacrifice savings in order to care for aging parents, she adds. The pressure, both financial and emotional, weighs on people.
Those pressures are one reason that 37 percent of Gen X, who are between ages 35 and
49, do not feel financially secure, according to the 2015 Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress Study of 5,474 adults. About 1 in 4 said they are "not at all confident" they will achieve their financial goals, and 2 in 10 said they believe they will never retire, largely because they won't have enough retirement savings.
"The number of people who find themselves sandwiched between generations continues to grow as the baby boom generation gets older and is expected to live longer than ever before – longer than they're capable of caring for themselves. At the same time, children are living at home for longer, which means people in middle age are often caring for, and financially supporting, both generations at once. It is estimated that 1 in 8 Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 are caring for both children and parents or grandparents at once. That care giving often coincides with intense years of career demands as well as the need to save for retirement.
If you're a member of the sandwich generation, here are some financial strategies to help your family get through the challenge:
Pick your priorities. "Maybe we start saving for college tuition later, or we save less now with the idea of ramping it up later, when our incomes are back at full stride," Make it a priority to continue saving for retirement, but to scale back in other areas, such as spending on luxuries such as vacation and cars.
Stick to a revised budget. Taking on responsibility for parents can make it especially important to hone your budget. Because they have so much on their plates, making a plan is critical. Set limits on spending, shopping sales and to stay within your means, When it comes to vacation or holidays, focus on shared family experiences rather than dollars spent. Use your banks' spending alerts to stay within budget.
Give yourself an annual checkup. It's like going to the doctor. Take a few minutes off work and sit down with a financial advisor to review current financial priorities, and make sure everything is aligned." A recent survey of 519 adults with incomes $75,000 and up found that among those in middle age (ages 45 to 54), just 37 percent say they are saving enough to live comfortably in retirement, compared to 57 percent in other age groups. An annual checkup can help determine where you stand and what adjustments need to be made.
Plan for eldercare. While parents often anticipate the costs that come with children, they are less likely to budget for the expense of caring for their parents. Those costs can include paid caregivers, a nursing facility or medical expenses, he adds. Budgeting in advance, as well as checking for any available benefits through the federal government, particularly Social Security or veterans' benefits, can help ease some of that pressure.
Coordinate with siblings. Work out a plan with your siblings. Work through any tensions with siblings and other family members before a health crisis hits, because coordination becomes essential. You have to sit down and have these conversations that you never thought you would have.
Because you're the person in the middle, you have to be prepared!