Are You a Member of the Sandwich Generation?

When Your Family Relies on You

Approximately 50% of Americans in their forties, 60% of those in their fifties, and 80% of adults in their sixties are members of the ‘Sandwich Generation,’ individuals simultaneously juggling the care and/or financial support of their children and aging parents.1 And if you’re not currently a member of the Sandwich Generation, odds are you may be someday.

How can you prepare? We offer three tips:

Tip #1: Get your paperwork in order.

When your children turn eighteen, they gain the right to control their own healthcare and make their own financial decisions. But what if something should happen and your child or parent becomes temporarily unable to make decisions for themselves?

  • A healthcare proxy (also called a durable medical power of attorney) authorizes you to make medical decisions on your loved one’s behalf, should they become incapacitated and unable to make decisions on their own. It can also include a living will that indicates their wishes about life-saving interventions they would or would not like to receive.
  • A durable power of attorney allows you to make financial decisions, access your loved one’s financial records, and pay their bills, should they be unable to do so.

Having signed healthcare proxies and durable power of attorneys for your adult children and parents can help to make it easier for you to step in and help them when needed. These documents give you and your loved ones financial confidence, but they must be established in advance.

Tip #2: Know your rights.

Should you need to take time away from your job to focus on a loved one’s care, you may be entitled to up to 12-weeks of job-protected leave per year to care for your spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, your leave is unpaid, but your job is held for you, and you continue to receive group health care coverage.2

Tip #3: Plan ahead.

Planning ahead can make it easier for you to juggle your sandwich generation issues logistically and financially. For example, think about where your parents are going to live when they get older. You may want to consider adding an in-law suite to your home for a parent (or boomerang child) returning to the nest. Determine whether you have the financial resources in place should your parent need greater assistance or full-time care, such as long-term care insurance or savings. And if you think you may need to leave your job for a period of time to provide for their care, speak with your financial advisor to help ensure your wealth plan allows for that scenario.

At Southwestern Investment Group, we understand that parents have one of the most important jobs in the world, raising and encouraging the next generation. But you also want to take care of the parents who provided for you and may be faced with the sandwich generation challenges that come with juggling the two. With that in mind, we regularly seek new and better ways to serve you. Learn more by contacting one of our advisors today.

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