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The Sandwich Generation: Juggling Family Responsibilities

J Lack 2014
Jerry W. Lack
Assistant Vice President, Financial Advisor
(585) 394-4260 x41828

At a time when your career is reaching a peak and you are looking ahead to your own retirement, you may find yourself in the position of having to help your children with college expenses while at the same time looking after the needs of your aging parents. Squeezed in the middle, you've joined the ranks of the "sandwich generation." 

What challenges will you face? 

Your parents faced some of the same challenges that you may be facing now: adjusting to a new life as empty nesters and getting reacquainted with each other as a couple. However, life has grown even more complicated in recent years. Here are some of the things you can expect to face: 

  • Your parents may need assistance as they become older. Higher living standards mean an increased life expectancy, and you may need to help your parents prepare adequately for the future. 
  • If your family is small and widely dispersed, you may end up as the primary caregiver for your parents. 
  • If you've delayed having children so that you could focus on your career first, your children may be starting college at the same time as your parents become dependent on you for support. 

What can you do to prepare for the future? 

Holding down a job and raising a family in today's world is hard enough without having to worry about keeping the three headed monster of college, retirement, and concerns about elderly parents at bay. Planning ahead gives you the chance to take the wishes of the entire family into account. Here are some ways you can prepare now: 

  • Start saving for the soaring cost of college as soon as possible. 
  • Review your financial goals regularly, and make any changes to your financial plan that are necessary to accommodate an unexpected event, such as a career change or the illness of a parent. 
  • Talk to your parents about the provisions they've made for the future. Do they have long-term care insurance? Adequate retirement income? Learn the whereabouts of all their documents and get a list of the professionals and friends they rely on for advice and support. 

Caring for your parents 

Much depends on whether a parent is living with you or out of town. If your parent lives a distance away, you have the responsibility of monitoring his or her welfare from afar. Daily phone calls can be time consuming, and having to rely on your parent's support network may be frustrating. Travel to your parent's home may be expensive, and you may worry about being away from family. To reduce your stress, try to involve your siblings (if you have any) in looking after Mom or Dad, too. If your parent's needs are great enough, you may also want to consider hiring a professional geriatric care manager who can help oversee your parent's care and direct you to the community resources your parent needs. Eventually, though, you may decide that your parent needs to move in with you. 

Considering the needs of your children

Your children may be feeling the effects of your situation more than you think. At a time when they are most in need of your patience and attention, you may be preoccupied with your parents and how to look after them. Be sure to explain fully what changes may come about as you begin caring for your parents. Usually, children only need their questions and concerns to be addressed before making the adjustment. 

Most importantly, take care of yourself. Get enough rest and relaxation every evening, and stay involved with your friends and interests. Finally, keep lines of communication open with your spouse, parents, children, and siblings. This may be especially important for the smooth running of your multigeneration family, resulting in a workable and healthy home environment.

CNB Can Help 

If you have any questions or would like guidance, please feel free to schedule an appointment at (585) 394-4260.

Source: ©2017 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. This material provided by Jerry W. Lack.

Investments are not bank deposits, are not obligations of, or guaranteed by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, and are not FDIC insured. Investments are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal amount invested. Investments and services may be offered through affiliate companies. Past performance discussed does not predict future results.