Stuck in the Middle with you…and you….and you
The traditional nuclear family is quickly becoming a thing of the past and the sandwich generation is on the rise. The sandwich generation refers to a multi-generational household in which the middle generation is caring for children and aging parents at the same time. A recent study concluded that almost half of all Canadians (43%) have provided care for a family member and that 75% of these caregivers also work a paid job.
Needless to say, the situation is putting stress on families across the country and much of that stress is financial. The sandwich generation is caught between their own financial goals, the financial needs of their children and those of their parents. In many cases the middle generation is postponing – sometimes indefinitely - their goals to care for their families.
If you are stuck in the middle, here are a few things you can do to help ease the stress:
- Have a family meeting or open discussion with your parents and children. This is a team effort, and everyone needs to be involved.
- Know exactly where you stand. Review your financial plan, and that of your parents. Are there ways to economize? Do your parents have sufficient funds for their needs? Would downsizing homes increase their cash flow?
- Consider everyone’s health factors. Will someone need additional medications, home care, home upgrades?
- Invest in RESPs to maximize your savings for your children’s education. Invest in RDSPs if applicable to anyone in your family.
- Make sure everyone has a will and has designated a power of attorney.
- Protect your family– make sure you have the appropriate insurance.
- Know what help is available. There are organizations that can help with caring for an aging family member. Dial 211 if you are in Ontario. 211 is a helpline and online database of Ontario's community and social services.
- Keep saving for your own needs. You need to retire someday too. Don’t forget about yourself.
- Consult a financial planner.