Resources for the Sandwich Generation
Are you responsible for the care and support of dependent children and elderly family members?
If so, you are part of the “Sandwich Generation” and will likely face difficult financial decisions when balancing your own economic needs with the needs of your family.
Get yourself prepared.
Whether you are already here or think it's a possibility in the future, consider whether you can afford your own retirement. This may depend on whether you plan to pay for your children’s post-secondary education and if you are, or will be, caring for elderly family members. As a member of the Sandwich Generation, you will be affected by the financial security of your children and your parents. Rising education and health care costs require you to plan ahead so that you can create the financial future that you and your family want and will need.
Investing is an important part of one’s financial security and deserves further consideration. So, how do you balance the need to plan for your own future, while taking care of the needs of your loved ones?
Don't be caught in the middle. The tips below can help:
Considerations for your children
- Teach your children about basic financial concepts, model responsible money management and show them how you take steps to investigate before investing. View our resources for youth.
- Consider the potential negative impact of using your retirement assets for your children’s education.
- Talk to your children about exploring education financing options (e.g. loans, grants, part-time employment, Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) savings).
- Set financial ground rules and expectations if adult children, sometimes referred to as “boomerang kids”, move back home.
What you need to think about for you
- Organize your financial records including brokerage statements, bank records and insurance documents.
- Create a realistic budget and control your debt.
- Start retirement planning early. Review your investments in relation to your financial goals and risk tolerance.
- Evaluate your investment knowledge and experience, and consider working with a financial adviser.
- Contact your local securities regulator to inquire whether your broker or financial adviser is registered to sell investments or provide advice.
- Avoid making quick investment decisions to make up for insufficient funds as you near retirement - you could expose yourself to more financial risk than you are comfortable with.
- Learn about common scams, how to Check First and how to file a complaint
How to prepare for aging parents
- Speak to your elderly family members about their financial matters. If they make a poor investment decision or are scammed, not only do they jeopardize their own financial future, they may need more support from you in later years.
- Be sensitive and supportive when you initiate discussions as family members may wish to remain financially independent.
- Know the location of assets (insurance documents, retirement plans, and other investments) and have current copies of their estate planning documents. It is easier to obtain the information needed to act on their behalf in advance, rather than later in a crisis situation.
- Know their advisers and sources of information (accountants, doctors, financial planners, family members) and be on the lookout for signs of financial abuse.
- Be aware of and help older family members spot and avoid investment fraud and scams. Be on alerts for referrals for investments within the family.
Read the full Caught in the Middle booklet (PDF).
Content developed with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
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