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Sandwich Generation

Alerus | SEP 14, 2018

In the Middle of Everything: Tips for Those Caring for Both Kids and Parents

It’s called the “sandwich generation” – mid-career people, often in their 30s and 40s, who are caring for kids still in the house and taking on more care for their aging parents as well. The challenges people in this situation experience are significant and can’t really be avoided – but with planning and deliberate action, you can help make them easier for everyone, including yourself.

  • Talk about what’s coming early and often
    It’s a way to respect your parents’ needs and goals and take proactive action. Do they want to stay in their house? Travel? Move? If you know, you can start saving and preparing. Just as important are legal matters. Addressing wills, trusts, power of attorney and care directives is easier when stress and pressure are low. An estate planner can help.
     
  • Keep your kids informed and involved
    Involve older kids in the family dynamics. Knowing your kids’ goals and expectations for college and their future, and helping them understand your responsibilities and what they will be expected to contribute, can head off surprises. If college is in the future, a 529 plan can help you start saving.
     
  • Create plans as early as you can
    Making smart adjustments starts with a complete picture. Estimate budget needs for parents, children and yourself – a financial planner can help. Also think about how you will budget time. You’ll need to make tradeoffs but having a plan will help ensure nothing gets overlooked or shorted.
     
  • Don’t go it alone
    Many hands make light work and help avoid resentment. Involve siblings in care for parents, as going it alone may leave others feeling left out, and you feeling burned out. Also, spread the load over time – if you see a change coming, take steps early.
     
  • Take care of yourself
    Give yourself credit and give yourself a break. The financial and emotional pressure you feel is also a reflection of the care you are giving for people you love. Some anxiety is normal, so having ways to deal with it – talking with others, taking a break, treating yourself – is healthy and necessary.

Anyone in the sandwich generation learns quickly that the key to navigating competing needs is balance, preparation and smart compromises. And that takes experience and insight. Relationships with trusted financial, legal and personal advisors who know your family and your values can help you work through the challenges to come in a way that will be good for you and your family.

 

The content available on this site is provided for informational purposes only, is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instruments and should not be relied upon as an investment recommendation. Alerus Financial, N.A. and its affiliate subsidiary companies make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The information is not intended to provide legal or tax advice. Individuals should consult a qualified legal or tax advisor for advice specific to their circumstances.
 

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