The proverbial sandwich generation is growing as baby boomers set longevity records. The challenge becomes the need to be around more for an aging father – after the recent death of my mother – while also helping a daughter transition to college and another succeed in high school. In the 40s or 50s, especially for women, it can mean juggling work, expenses, being a role model and honoring the promise to a mother or father.
All of this can be more than overwhelming. An ever-expanding to-do list may come with anxiety and a feeling of treading water.
Some of the unique challenges facing the sandwich generation
As parents are living longer, they often want to be able to stay in their homes for as long as possible. This can put added pressure on the closest sibling or only child to care for them, monitor them, and help them to better age in place. Yet, changes with aging parents are not the only difficulty this generation faces.
Older teens and young adults are staying at home longer, as the cost of living is increasing higher than the wages for students just out of high school and college. This puts a physical and financial responsibility on middle-aged parents who are trying to save for retirement to care for more people than in the previous generation.
Tips for getting through this transition
Stress is a real issue that many people face in mid-life. Yet, there are a few ways to help reduce these stressful situations to help make the situation easier for all those involved.
- Open a line of communication with your aging parents: An older generation may not have openly discussed financial matters with their children. It is crucial to start honest conversation about these topics to better strategize for when more care is needed.
- Set rules for your adult children: While it may be necessary for your adult children to live with you, they need to understand that they may need to help alleviate some of the financial burdens. This could mean being responsible for their groceries, paying a small stipend for rent, or paying a portion of the utility bills. This will also help them to get on a realistic financial path as they will come to realize they are now responsible for their needs.
- Prioritize your to-do list: Create the time to address those crucial things on your to-do list that should not continue to be pushed by the wayside, such as managing your own estate planning and future retirement goals.
With so much on your plate, sometimes the best course of action is finding a trusted professional to help you with your estate planning and retirement goals so that they can help you make educated decisions vital to your future.