The sandwich generation, the term aptly given to adults when they find themselves in the middle of being financially responsible for their children as well as their parents, is becoming more and more prevalent.
With more people waiting longer to have children, the knock-on effect is that parents of young children find their ageing parents in need of their care as well.
More than that, with medicine and general health advances, we are now more likely to live for 20 to 30 years beyond our selected retirement age, which means pensions need to last longer, and frail care needs to be budgeted for.
So, how do we navigate the uncharted territory of preschools and pension, university tuition and inheritance tax, without having a mini-breakdown?
Here are SIX Sandwich Survival Tips TO HELP YOU SURVIVE:
1. Draw Up A Financial Plan:
Having a financial plan is like having an umbrella for your rainy day – it’s a buffer for unexpected financial expenses.
You don’t have to be an accountant to draw one up either.
Calculate how much income and capital you need by factoring in variables like your age, the age and number of your dependants, other income sources and how much of your capital you want to draw in income payments.
Map out some financial goals, and start adjusting spending habits, and investing wisely, so that you can reach those goals, and not be caught in the rain without an umbrella should a financial emergency arise.
2. Varsity Fund
The joy of launching your children into the independent varsity phase usually coincides with the diminished independence of your aging parents.
Varsity fees are becoming more and more expensive, not to mention the hidden costs of books, board and lodging.
Start setting aside money from early on; even as early as preschool.
Doing this should ensure there’s one less major financial and emotional stress for you to deal with, while focusing on your elderly parents’ needs.
This way you can release your children into this new, exciting stage, with no financial burden or guilt.
3. Find out About Your Parents’ Finances
Asking your parents about their financial situation is about as uncomfortable as talking about death! However, it is absolutely necessary if you are to be prepared to help when needed, so grit your teeth and soldier on.
Explain that this conversation comes from a position of love and respect, then sit down with them and find out:
- What pension they are drawing
- If they receive annuities or dividends
- What they have in savings
- What their living expenses are
- What fixed payments they have, e.g. bond and utilities
- What medical insurance they have
- What medical expenses they have
- What outstanding debt they have
Many pensioners from the UK come to South Africa to retire. If your parents’ pension is in the UK and they are over 55 years old, they now have access to their entire pension 10 years earlier than before. Ensure you investigate the implications of that and speak to a qualified financial advisor on investment options.
Draining your parents’ pension prematurely could jeopardise the longevity of their hard-earned pension, and leave them, and you, high and dry in their frail years.
4. Investigate Frail Care Insurance
Savings and finances can be devastated by extended frail care or home-nursing costs for your loved one.
If your parents do not already have frail care insurance, it is worth your while investing in this to cover expenses when the time arises.
There may also be out-of-hospital costs that you will incur by taking care of your elderly loved one, such as altering your home to accommodate your parents moving in, plus added groceries and pharmaceutical expenses.
Be sure to include these in your financial plan.
5. Take Care of Yourself
We’re not just talking spa treatments and manicures here, although that is important too; we’re talking your personal finances.
Don’t overlook making provision for your own retirement during the hubbub of taking care of your dependants. Remember, you can’t help others if you’re not on a steady financial footing yourself, so educate yourself on your options.
Plus, making ample provision for yourself means that your children will not be in the same situation you find yourself in now.
6. Create a support structure
The emotional strain of having so many people depending on you, while still trying to raise your children, be successful at work, and foster a happy marriage, can take its toll.
Sometimes we all need a helping hand:
- Create a support structure with friends who are in the same situation as you are – often just knowing that there are others facing the same challenges you do makes a difference
- Meet for coffee or start a Whatsapp group to share ideas or thoughts with your support group
- Let the experts be the experts – find a good, established financial advisor and let them handle the stress of your finances, so that you can focus on taking care of those around you.
So, with these tools in your belt, here’s to surviving the sandwich generation in style.
Contact us now to meet with one of our financial advisors.