According to Wikipedia, the Sandwich Generation refers to people (usually in their 40's to 70's) who care for their aging parents while also supporting their own children.
The unplanned challenges of caring for an aging parent, grandchild and/or adult child is wreaking havoc on retirement plans and leading to many reactive and poorly thought-out decisions. Planning is uniquely significant for this generation.
But, how can a Wealth Advisor be of assistance?
Joy Loverde, a leading expert in aging and caregiving related issues, dutifully points out in her latest book "Who Will Take Care of Me When I'm Old?", the term "wealth management is not a reference to the rich and famous - it is a discipline that incorporates legal and financial planning."
A good advisor provides more than planning and leadership. A good advisor becomes your personal Chief Financial Quarterback (CFQ), a trusted advocate guiding you though every play of the game, available 24X7 and happy to connect with other professionals on your team (accountants and attorneys.)
My role is that of CFQ. I love it, and the Sandwich Generation needs it.
So, what immediate steps should one take if in this generation?
Grab yourself a CFQ and tackle the following:
Develop a Sustainable Financial Plan for Your Parent(s). Outliving their nest egg is a very real concern. There is a 45% chance at least one member of a married couple will live to be 90.
Prepare Planning for Your Own Retirement. It's the ol' "put your oxygen mask on first before helping others" metaphor, but it's true. Avoid the urge to pull from your nest egg to support others.
Review Long-Term Care Options for You and Your Parent(s). This is real folks. Ages 65+ have a 70% likelihood of needing some type of extended care. How will care be paid? How much will it cost?
Analyze Funding College vs. Retirement. An option if you're on the right track to reach your retirement income goals.
Create and Review Important Estate Planning Documents for You and Your Parent(s). From naming an executor to wills, trusts, advanced health care directives, medical and durable powers of attorney.
Get Organized. From inventorying of assets, cataloging passwords and identifying the location of important documents, this step is critical.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Save time updating family by utilizing technology like Google Drive or Lotsa Helping Hands to create a document or spreadsheet that everyone has access to and can update.
The biggest danger for those stuck in the middle is the risk of neglecting your own self-care while attempting to help everyone else. Remember, a good CFQ is on your team. Don't forget to huddle, pay-attention and execute the plays.
"Life is ten percent what happens to you, and ninety percent how you respond to it." -- Lou Holtz