For years, balancing family obligations, a progressing career, and financial concerns was exclusively the providence of parents with young children. Today, this challenging balancing act is shared by middle-aged adults who find themselves caring for both aging parents and adult children. Mix in the demands of established careers, saving for retirement, and debt management, and you have a very stressful situation. Does this sound like you? You may be part of the “sandwich generation.”
Members of the “sandwich generation” are squeezed between competing demands. Caring for aging parents, especially those with health concerns, can amount to a full-time job. Even families who obtain nursing care or elder care must manage schedules, medications, maintenance items, and the expenses associated with all of these. Similarly, for those who had children later in life, there may still be teenagers in the house, attending college, or living back at home after college. These children have their own set of needs, demands, and expenses, which may include college tuition, lifestyle support, and maintenance support for items like cell phone bills and car payments. In the middle are adults who often feel overburdened and financially unprepared for retirement.
Managing Your Life
Perhaps you’ve been managing your life toward certain goals, such as retirement, which may now feel out of reach. It may be time to revisit your goals to consider what is possible now, and what may be possible in the future. Instead of simply having a goal of “retirement,” think of what that word truly means to you. Is it spending more time on the tennis court? Or getting to occasionally sleep in? With specific goals in mind, you may find that you’re able to tailor your current responsibilities to fit in more of what you want to do. Longer-term, adults in America are living longer, healthier lives, and you may find yourself enjoying travelling, sports, and other hobbies well into your 80s and beyond. For those who feel overwhelmed, practicing stress-management techniques such as yoga and meditation may help you find peace in your hectic days. Locally, Sarasota has many great resources for those looking for support, including the Friendship Centers, Jewish Family and Children Services and Tidewell Hospice.
Managing Your Finances
If you’re one of these “sandwiched” individuals, what steps can you take to manage your finances? First, be sure that you’re contributing to your own retirement savings accounts. If your employer offers a matching contribution, ensure that you’re contributing to at least the full extent of the match. Similarly, remember that you’re able to borrow for college expenses, but you can’t take a loan out for retirement. Examine your debt burdens with an eye toward paying down any high-interest debt, such as credit card debt, first, and with the goal of being mostly or entirely out of debt, including mortgage debt if possible, by the time you retire. If you’re in your mid- to late-50s, now is the time to explore long-term care insurance, which is a type of insurance policy that can help pay for in-home or nursing-home care should you need it as you age. Lastly, begin to analyze your expenses today, keeping in mind that some of your expenses, such as caring for adult children, may decrease or stop entirely as your children gain independence. Having an idea of your projected spending in retirement will enable you to save smartly and plan for an appropriate retirement date. Remember that it is never too late to begin getting your financial house in order.
Have a Flexible Plan
As members of the “sandwich generation” have experienced, even the very best laid plans can fail if they don’t include the flexibility to pivot as your life changes. Working with a financial planner can help you plan for your family’s needs today as well as your own needs in retirement. A good financial plan will take into consideration the facts of today, the needs of tomorrow, and the possibility of achieving your goals for your life.
The Wealth Advisors at Allegiant Private Advisors would be happy to have a conversation with you if you find yourself in need of a new or different financial plan.
Allegiant Private Advisors is located at 240 South Pineapple Ave., Suite 200, Sarasota, FL 34236. For more information, call 941-365-3745 or visit www.allegiantpa.com. Advisory Services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, a Registered Investment Adviser.