It’s a generation of people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who are ‘sandwiched’ between their young adult or nearly adult children on one side and their ageing parents on the other. Just when they thought life might have been going to get a bit easier, they find themselves with a lot to think about.
Some members of the sandwich generation have higher incomes and some lower. Some are financially comfortable, at least on the surface, while for others being financially stressed is a day-to-day reality. Some have substantial investments behind them (although no guarantee of avoiding financial stress), while some have carried a high level of debt for many years.
Some have found themselves on their own, either through divorce or death, and are discovering that they now have to sort out their finances by themselves, without any prior experience. Some have immediate challenges with ageing parents while for others this is a future prospect. Some have health challenges of their own. Some want to retire sooner than others. And of course people’s priorities in life vary widely.
What the sandwich generation share is:
- the prospect of change, of moving from one phase of life into another and dealing with the uncertainty that that brings
- not knowing where to turn for help
- worry about how they can best guide their young adult children towards a sound financial future, especially in an era when finding a permanent, stable job seems rare and the prospect of buying their own home has become almost an impossibility
- concerns about how they can help their parents deal with getting older, getting their affairs in order and potentially making some tough decisions in the not-too-distant future. How will they deal with having to make decisions about aged care, including the complicated financing involved, if it comes to that?
On the flip side, many in the sandwich generation are enjoying a period of time in which they get to spend more time with their young adult children who have stayed home while they try to save for a deposit for their own home or for travel, possibly while they complete their tertiary education. The sandwich generation are also seeing the benefits of their parents living longer, and with a much higher quality of life, even if that raises new concerns about ensuring that their money lasts as long as possible.
And, of course, the sandwich generation wonder how they can prepare themselves for life after work, both psychologically and financially.
This is not just about money. Members of the sandwich generation are on the cusp of a whole new phase of life: a phase that, provided they are properly prepared, should be incredibly positive and enjoyable.
The Money Sandwich provides practical, easy-to-understand knowledge, tips and action lists on all aspects of financial management for your pre- and post-retirement years. Buy your copy to take control of your finances today and secure a stress-free future tomorrow.
Article by Marc Bineham – Money coach, speaker and award-winning author of The Money Sandwich