Are you in the sandwich generation?
Sandwich generation individuals are literally “sandwiched” between their young adult children and aging parents. The emotional and financial strain of caring for both your parents and your kids can be difficult to navigate.
As a financial advisor, I often find that individuals and couples in the sandwich generation aren’t only dealing with the stress of responding to the needs of others. They’re also putting aside their own goals and dreams because they feel guilty about not putting their resources toward supporting both their adult kids and their aging parents.
Let’s talk about this guilt that sandwich generation parents feel, and how to find balance in your finances.
Money is inextricably linked to your emotions. Your finances help you to build toward your goals, support your loved ones, make an impact, and live the life you love. Unfortunately, when you’re in the sandwich generation, you may feel obligated to use a large percentage of your wealth and resources to support the goals of others.
The drive to support your children, even if they’re nearing adulthood, is strong for many parents. Even if they are finding success in their education or career, you might feel obligated to help them out financially every once in a while. This might look like helping to fund their college education costs, helping them out with groceries, or even stepping in when it comes to bigger expenses like helping them with a house down payment.
However, if you’re sandwiched between your kids and your aging parents, you have another set of needs to consider. Depending on the financial situation and lifestyle of your aging parents, you and your siblings may feel obligated to help them with monthly financial expenses, fund the cost of their care facility or retirement home, or even have them move in with you when they can no longer care for themselves. This additional set of financial expenses adds another layer of stress on your budget and can fuel the guilt you feel about needing to care for others even more.
What’s critical is to understand that there’s a difference between meeting familial obligations and putting your own financial and emotional well-being aside to care for others.
Being stuck between caring for your kids and your parents is challenging, but it’s possible to support them while still taking care of yourself financially. You can start by taking a few steps to get your own financial plan organized:
Navigating the guilt you feel as a member of the sandwich generation can be challenging. Working with a financial planner can help to prepare you for your own long-term financial success while helping you address the desire you have to support your family at the same time. There’s no one “right” solution, and your advisor can help you find a strategy that works for you and aligns with your values.
Want help? Contact us today.
Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.
"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.