The Sandwich Generation: Caring for Parents and Children

Updated May 2024

When you prepare for retirement, you generally plan for your own financial situation. You work hard to save for the lifestyle you wish to enjoy during the next phase of your life—a phase that you likely imagine to be free of financial obligation to anyone other than yourself.

Unfortunately, as many members of Gen X—and perhaps even Gen Y—are realizing, this is not always the case. A large contingency of these groups now find themselves to be members of what is known as the Sandwich Generation. The Sandwich Generation is comprised of those caring for aging parents, while also supporting their children. Providing support to family is something that many people not only feel is an obligation but is something they truly want to do. While their intentions are honorable, without proper planning, providing assistance can come with a physical, emotional and financial cost.

Caring For Those That Cared For Us

As our parents age and the cost of health care rapidly increases, it is human nature to want to assist them in any way you can. This help can take various forms. It can be as simple as calling them daily to check in. Or it can involve much more time- and money-consuming efforts such as increased traveling, remodeling your home to accommodate an ailing parent, or making payments to an assisted living facility.

All these efforts, from the simplest to the more challenging, involve your time and often your money. It can result in increased time off and lost wages, which can lead to reduced savings toward your long-term plans. It can even force you into early retirement.

All these issues lead to various solutions—the simplest being beginning with a conversation with your loved ones. Find out about their financial situation. Do they have long term care insurance? If not, do they have the assets to support any care they might need? Do they have the documents in place that allow you to make decisions when they are unable, such as a durable or health care power of attorney? To view this from a different angle, if something were to happen to you, is there someone else to take your place to provide the care your parents need? If they are depending on your financial support, are the assets you leave behind enough to provide for them, as well as your spouse and children?

Knowing these answers in advance, and planning around them, can make this situation less of a burden and more of a way to give back to the parents that loved and cared for you.

Boomerang Children

Assisting your children does not stop when they reach 18 anymore. More and more children are becoming Boomerang Children, meaning that even into adulthood, they are returning home to live with their parents. Divorce, prolonged education, job loss—these are just a few reasons that an increasing number of young adults decide to make this change.

You love your children and want to assist them in any way you can, but what consequences accompany that support—additional residents in your home, cramped space, increased utility bills, providing day care for your grandchildren?

Or maybe your children are not Boomerangs, but they are teenagers for whom you are constantly transporting from one school function to another. Add these challenges to caring for an aging parent and you have a potentially stressful situation. Aside from placing your retirement plans at risk, such a circumstance can impair your physical and mental health as well.

What Does This Mean to You?

If financially supporting your family is a possibility in your future, retirement preparation means planning for more than yourself. It means making sure the proper plans are in place for you to not only take care of yourself, but to make it easier for you to take care of others when the time presents itself. At Truepoint, we’ve found that a family meeting is one of the most effective ways to plan for the future and negotiate the important issues that families face during the aging process.

As advisors, we have a depth of experience working with clients and their families who are navigating the often financially and emotionally challenging landscape of aging and caregiving. If you’d like to have a conversation with one of our advisors about your family’s situation, contact us today.

Truepoint Wealth Counsel is a fee-only Registered Investment Adviser (RIA). Registration as an adviser does not connote a specific level of skill or training. More detail, including forms ADV Part 2A & Form CRS filed with the SEC, can be found at Neither the information, nor any opinion expressed, is to be construed as personalized investment, tax or legal advice. The accuracy and completeness of information presented from third-party sources cannot be guaranteed.

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