Are You Part of a Sandwich?

Ray’s Take Being a member of the sandwich generation – adults who simultaneously care for children and aging parents – is becoming an increasingly familiar challenge.

It’s tough trying to make financial decisions to take care of loved ones today that may have a negative impact on your own future.

The number of people who find themselves sandwiched between generations continues to grow. The baby boomer generation is aging and is expected to live longer than ever before. Children are now living at home longer due to the challenging economy over the past several years, making jobs hard to find.

And, to top it off, this type of financial pressure often occurs during the peak years of your career when demands are highest for your attention and time at work.

It’s imperative to have a plan on how to handle all the added financial and emotional strains.

Prioritization is important. Remember first that the best gift you can give your parents, children and grandchildren is make sure you provide for your own independence. Other decisions might be saving later for college to help with expenses needing to be directed at parents right now. Cutting down on luxuries like an expensive vacation or a new car every year can free up funds to put toward your children’s future.

Hone your budget. Now that you have additional responsibilities, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your current budget. Making a plan and sticking to it is critical to keeping yourself on track. My bank only lets me spend a dollar once.

Sit down with siblings to make a plan for caring for parents that includes everyone. Where your parents will live, who will contribute monetarily and how much. Consider using an elder care attorney. Working through a plan in advance can help limit stress to the extended family in the future.

Remember to take care of yourself, mentally and physically. You can’t help anyone if you don’t.

Dana’s Take Many of life’s big changes can lead to stress.

One of the top types of routine stress is the kind related to the pressure of work, family and other daily responsibilities. Health changes from this type of stress are the hardest to detect and over time may lead to serious health problem like heart disease, high blood pressure and depression.

The way we handle all of the things life throws at us impacts not only ourselves, but those around us as well. We all want to give our kids a happy childhood and our parents a well-earned rest in their golden years. Self-care is not selfish. It’s the best way to create a loving and happy atmosphere for everyone.

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