THE SANDWICH GENERATION — ARE YOU CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE?
Besides your own financial needs, are you also responsible for the care and support of dependent children and elderly family members?
If so, you are part of the “Sandwich Generation”. Balancing your retirement needs with rising education and health care costs for your family can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you provide a more secure financial future for your children, yourself and your parents.
ALL ABOUT YOU
As you near retirement, you may feel pressured to make hasty investment decisions in an attempt to make up for an insufficient nest egg. You may end up taking on more risk than you’re comfortable with. Before you invest, take some time to understand the investment and the risks associated with it. Make sure it fits with your financial goals.
Many people turn to a financial planner for help. A CFP® professional can help you set goals, build a financial plan, choose investments, track your progress and make adjustments when needed. You can also look to a CFP professional for answers to your questions about investment products and strategies.
Many elderly family members want to remain financially independent. But if they haven’t adequately planned for their health care and other financial needs, they may need your support.
A good financial plan takes into account all aspects of your finances, balancing what you need and want today with the personal goals you have for the future.
Work with your CFP professional to determine realistic goals and expectations.
Clarify your existing financial situation with your planner and express any areas where you may have concerns.
Review a draft plan and agree on your final plan.
Make it happen.
Learn about common investment scams and how to protect yourself.
Your children watch and learn from you. Have an open conversation about the importance of financial planning. Help them develop good money management skills early on if possible.
A good education is a goal most parents have for their children. Sometimes, parents will resort to using their retirement nest egg to finance the high costs of post-secondary education.
However, your children may be able to take advantage of other resources such as education savings plans, scholarships, grants, money from part-time jobs and loans.
Teach your children about basic financial concepts. Be a model for responsible money management.
Discuss with your CFP professional to consider the impact of using your retirement savings for your children’s education.
Talk to your children about ways to save and pay for their education.
Set financial ground rules and expectations if adult children move back home.
Keep in mind that talking about finances can be a sensitive topic for many people. Initiate a discussion about their financial situation in a calm and respectful way. It may be a good idea to obtain the financial information you may need to act on their behalf in advance, rather than later in a crisis situation.
Learn how to spot and avoid investment fraud. Teach your family about the warning signs. Scam artists often target seniors because they may have accumulated wealth and assets.
Speak to elderly family members about their finances.
Have current copies of their estate planning documents.
Know the location of assets (insurance documents, retirement plans and other investments).
Know their advisers and sources of information (accountants, financial planners, family members). Be on the lookout for signs of financial abuse.
Be aware of, and help family members avoid investment frauds and scams.
Discipline is what it takes to block out the noise, commitment is what it takes to walk the path to financial success and patience is what it takes to reach the goal.