About 47% of Americans in their 40s and 50s are part of the “sandwich generation,” which means they are providing for a child and an aging parent while—at the same time—saving for their own financial future. In a recent Blackenterprise.com article (“Retirement Tips for the Sandwich Generation, September 2014), TIAA-CREF Certified Financial Planner Shelley-Ann Eweka provided retirement advice for those who are in this financial situation.
According to Eweka, taking care of yourself is the first step. Staying healthy is essential when people are counting on you. It's also important to continue to contribute to your retirement account(s). Additionally, establish an emergency fund that will provide a safety net in case of emergencies.
TIAA-CREF goes into further detail about financial planning for the sandwich generation. It's a good idea to talk to your parents about where they stand with their finances in order to prepare for the possibility of caring for them. You should also keep an open dialogue about finances with your spouse and how caring for your parents will affect your family’s budget. An important step that is frequently overlooked is gathering important legal documents—for both your parents and you and your spouse—before they are necessary.
Thoughtful financial planning can alleviate much of the stress associated with living in the sandwich generation. Stay financially engaged and educated, so you can be in the best position to care for your loved ones.