Are you part of the sandwich generation?
In general, people who make the sandwich generation are those who support both their parents 👵🏼 and their children 👶🏻
Increasing pressure – both financial and otherwise – is the key characteristic of the sandwich generation.
With the twin financial pressures of supporting both old and young, the sandwich generation often has a lack of time, energy, resources to take care of their own finances, even to the extent of neglecting their own retirement planning.
This means that one day when they are older and retired, the burden of caring for them might end up getting passed on to their children. And so the cycle continues.
But, should it?
If you are part of 80% of young Singaporeans who believe they will be part of the next Sandwich Generation, here are four tips on how you can ease your financial woes if you are part of the #sandwichgeneration.
Take Care of Yourself First
Remember how, before a plane takes off, you'll have to hear the safety briefing, which usually has the flight attendants saying, "put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others"?
So many of us have not even boarded a flight since COVID-19 hit us, but we still can remember this line very clearly.
The same principle applies to your finances. Secure enough coverage to take care of your personal obligations and the future living expenses of your loved ones. This ensures that you and your family are protected from any form of financial hardship during unforeseen circumstances, from accidents to medical emergencies. If something happens to you, your parents and children can still receive the financial support they need.
Talk To Your Parents
It’s important to know where your parents stand financially so you aren’t blindsided if they run out of money. Take stock of their assets and liabilities and ensure they also have their basic insurance in place (i.e. medical and long-term care). Have a conversation on how they wish to be taken care of, especially in the event they lose mental capacity.
And although you may feel like you need to do everything alone, most of the time, you don’t. You can delegate some work to capable family members. Talk to someone who could provide financial support to care for your aging parents if their situation allows it. Someone else could help you manage doctors’ appointments, while someone else could be the "fun squad" to bring your elderly folk out for a nice time.
Set Expectations for Children Who Should Be Self-Sufficient
As someone in the sandwich generation, it's part of your job to take care of young dependants, too.
BUT .. there’s a difference between caring for children who are getting on their feet or temporarily recovering from a setback and those who seem to be permanently on your payroll.
Sometimes tough love is necessary.
If you agree to financially help out your adult child going through something like a divorce or a loss of income, be very clear about how long you’ll be supporting them, what that support will entail, and what their responsibilities are while they live under your roof or have a share of your funds.
Invest Towards Your Retirement
While it may seem selfish to prioritise your retirement above long-term care for your parents and/or the needs of your children, it can save you from passing money problems to the next generation.
Planning for your retirement secures your children’s future without leaving them financially stuck as you get older. A very strong tip is to not wait to plan your retirement. Starting early allows your money more time to grow and gives you more opportunities to reap the benefits of compound interest much earlier, too.
I hope the above has helped you think about how can you cope as part of the #sandwichgeneration
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Have any questions about finances for the sandwich generation? Feel free to reach out!
Disclaimer: The information in this post is purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as personalised financial advice. Please do your own research or speak to a financial advisor accordingly.