How to Cope With the Sandwich Generation Squeeze

 

Picture a sandwich. The top slice of bread is the responsibility of taking care of your elderly parents. The bottom slice is your young adult children who have boomeranged back home or are involved in post-secondary education. You are the meat stuck in the middle, trying to take care of both while working towards your retirement. This, in a nutshell, is the crisis the “sandwich generation” faces today. If you find yourself in this situation, take heart that you aren’t alone and you have people fighting for your best interests. The following are steps you can take to manage being stuck in the middle of caring for two generations:

Eldercare

The health insurance provided by the government leaves many elements of care uncovered or only partially covered, including nursing care at home. If one parent is still independent of you, you may wish to ask this parent to sell their home in order to downsize for extra monthly cash flow. If you are personally assisting your parent with their care, there is community care available in most regions and there is always private caregiving assistance.

Kids’ Education

The cost of post-secondary education is rising every year. Parents with two children that are close in age really feel the squeeze when both kids are enrolled at college or university.

The first step is to plan ahead and start investing early in Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). You should consider supplementing the RESP with Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) investments, family trusts, in-trust accounts, or a combination of these. The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. can help you reach your education savings goals.

Boomerang Kids

25.9%[1] of young adults in Canada between the ages of 25 to 29 live at home with their parents. This boomerang generation can burden their parents with extra cost or prevent them from a planned downsize of their home. The key to handling this situation is communication. Talk openly with your adult children about their plans, responsibilities, and expectations to help maintain a healthy relationship with them.

Contingency fund

Nobody can predict the future. You should consider setting money aside during your prime working years to cover the potential costs of supporting your parents or adult children. The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. can develop a plan to help alleviate the pressures of being in the sandwich generation while setting your family up for future care as well.


 

[1] Statistics Canada, Living Arrangements of Young Adults Aged 20 to 29 (2011 Census)