Financial Challenges for the Sandwich Generation
Financial Challenges for the Sandwich Generation We all know it’s true: For most parents, keeping life squared away can be challenging, considering their family and career obligations. It’s easy to be caught in a tug-of-war, pulled in one direction by family responsibilities and in the other by your companies’ day-to-day demands. Working baby boomers, in particular, sandwiched between obligations to their children and their aging parents, can easily feel like they’re juggling three full-time jobs. The financial responsibilities you face are many: investing time in your career…paying for a child’s education or special needs…funding or providing caregiving for an aging parent…actively saving for your own retirement. How can you make it all work without feeling torn between competing priorities? In every area of your life, planning can help you develop strategies to best use your time and financial resources to achieve your goals. Raising Children All parents want the best for their children, and education fosters success. But with skyrocketing tuition costs, college can seem cost prohibitive. How can you meet the financial challenge? There are many options: scholarships, loans, grants, and financial aid. To round out your plan, start saving what you can as early as you can. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish with a disciplined approach and time on your side. To help you, there are federal tax credits and tax-efficient savings vehicles tailored specifically for education, including prepaid tuition programs, college savings plans, and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Caring for Aging Parents While raising families and cultivating careers, parents are often called on to care for aging parents, relatives, and loved ones. If it’s not currently a reality for you, it may be in the future, and you will likely to face time constraints, as well as an increased financial burden. Most people can’t afford to put their work on hold to be a caregiver or to pay for extended care out-of-pocket. Long-term care insurance can help alleviate these concerns for you and your loved ones. With many policies covering home-based care as well as stays in assisted living/residential care facilities and nursing homes, many people consider a long-term care policy an important component of their retirement plans; they see it as a way to avoid placing a caregiving burden on the next generation. Insurance can also help you preserve assets and meet your estate planning goals, such as leaving a legacy for children and grandchildren. As with most types of insurance, it is cost-effective to obtain coverage before you or a loved one needs it. You First Parents often have an inherent tendency to put the needs of others before their own. In terms of financial security, this can be a devastating mistake. In retirement, people tend to draw income from three main resources: Social Security, company-sponsored retirement plans, and personal savings. Unlike the assistance available for college, there are no loans or financial aid for retirement. So again, it’s important to save what you can when you can. Contribute to your company’s retirement plan and maximize your contributions. In addition, plan for the unexpected. Disability income insurance can help ensure you have a source of replacement income in the event of an accident or illness. Looking Ahead Family obligations can be demanding second job. With foresight, planning, and professional guidance, you can minimize the emotional and financial stress, and tailor a long-term plan for your specific situation.