The Sandwich Generation: Financial Advice for Women Caring for Children and Aging Parents

The Sandwich Generation Financial Advice for Women Caring for Children and Aging Parents

It’s another one of those days… In addition to looming deadlines at work and mounting appointments, your teen needs a ride to the mall and is begging for a car so she can drive herself, your mother has called three times this morning for help paying her bills online, and your coffee hasn’t kicked in.  You feel stretched between two worlds, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  Sound familiar?  If so, welcome to the Sandwich Generation – a demographic comprised of middle-aged adults (mostly women) who are feeling pressured to support (emotionally, physically, and financially) both children and aging parents.  Balancing this dual-caregiver role is daunting (to say the least) and comes with significant financial and emotional stress as individuals juggle their personal life and finances with the needs of their family.  If you find yourself part of this group, don’t fear!  Below are five financial planning tips to help ensure a stable and secure financial future for you and your family.         

1. Embrace Financial Planning

The cornerstone of navigating the Sandwich Generation’s money challenges is comprehensive financial planning for all family members. Start by assessing your current financial situation, including income, savings, investments, and debts, and create a detailed budget.  Repeat this exercise for your parents (and adult dependent children) and discuss where financial assistance may be needed and how you can help.  For your younger children, explore ways to cut costs (want vs. need), and consider a 529 College Savings Plan and future college grants/scholarships.  What’s most important here is to have a disciplined approach and a clear understanding of your complete financial landscape (and limits) to help you make informed decisions for yourself, your children, and your parents. 

2. Fund Yourself First & Know Your Limits

We’ve all heard the saying. “You can’t take care of anyone else unless you first take care of yourself.”  This is equally important for your financial well-being as it is for your physical/emotional health.  As more individuals within the Sandwich Generation put off retirement to financially support their aging parents and adult offspring, embracing this adage becomes crucial to balancing you and your family’s financial needs.  You work hard for your money, now make it work hard for you through compounded growth!  Take advantage of your company-sponsored 401k plan or consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to save for the future.  Invest in a Health Saving Accounts (HSA) to help manage current and future eligible medical expenses and set aside money for savings to help with unexpected emergencies and expenses. The key here is diligence, time, and staying the course!                

3. Protect Yourself & Your Income

You can’t plan for life’s unexpected moments, but you can think ahead to mitigate risks and protect the life and wealth you’ve built.  That’s why it crucial to consider life and disability insurance to help protect your income and assets in the event of death or an inability to work following an injury.  Further, as your parents age, the likelihood of needing long-term care increases. While it may be expensive, long-term care insurance can help cover the costs of nursing homes, home health aides, and other healthcare services. These proactive steps can help alleviate financial and emotional stress by knowing that you and/or your parents will receive the necessary care and income needed without draining financial resources.              

4. Ensure Financial Affairs Are in Order

Even if finances aren’t currently an issue, they may become one without proper attention, which is why it’s important to ensure all legal documents, such as wills, trusts, and power of attorney (financial and health), are up to date for both you and your parents. Estate planning is a vital component of financial planning, providing peace of mind and clarity on the distribution of assets and decision-making authority in case of incapacity.            

5. Prioritize Self-Care

Last but not least, while managing the financial aspects of caring for two generations, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health, affecting your ability to make sound financial decisions. Schedule time for your own self-care and do something just for you.  Remember… When times get tough, consider speaking to your health care provider or joining a support group.  Sometimes an empathetic ear or bonding over a shared experience helps put things into perspective knowing you’re not alone.     

While being the support system for two generations can bring much fulfillment, the dutiful role of the Sandwich Generation also comes with a unique set of financial and emotional challenges. When in doubt, enlist the help of a wealth manager for personalized financial guidance.  An experienced professional can help you look at the big picture, including budgeting, investments, insurance, tax strategies, and estate planning for women, among others, to help you take stock of what you need to reach your goals and what you can share without deviating from your path to financial success. With careful planning, strategic decision-making, and the right support, it’s possible to provide for your loved ones without compromising your own financial well-being.

LSIA is here for you to help address your financial questions. CLICK HERE to contact us.

Data Source: Investopedia (The Sandwich Generation: What the Term Means, How to Manage by Will Kenton (reviewed by Ebony Howard, 7/17/22); US Bank (Sandwich Generation Financial Planning Tips); and Michael Hyatt.  Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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