Advice for the ‘Sandwich Generation’

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By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC® Private Wealth Advisor

your financesnov14If you’re between the ages of 35 and 55, you may be feeling a financial pinch from both your growing (or grown) children and your aging parents. Welcome to the “Sandwich Generation.” Today kids tend to live at home longer, or, move out and return, sometimes with their children in tow. Meanwhile, parents tend to live longer, often spending 25 years or more in retirement. If you’re wondering how to keep yourself financially on track in the face of these competing demands, the following strategies may help:

  • Pay yourself first: Automatically route a portion of your paycheck to your retirement savings account, and encourage your working children to do the same. This ensures you’re regularly investing in your future financial security.
  • Talk openly about finances: Discuss the basic tenets of sound money management with your children, including the role of cash reserves, insurance protection, fixed investments and equity investments. It’s equally important to talk with your parents about their finances, including plans for if they become ill or incapacitated.
  • Discuss long-term care insurance: In-home health care costs or a lengthy nursing home stay can wreak financial havoc. If your parents don’t already have longterm care insurance, they might want to look into it.
  • Get financial and legal documents up to date: Review and update beneficiary designations on investments and insurance policies because they may trump what’s stated in a will. Have adult family members keep a list of their financial accounts and passwords in an accessible location.
  • Offset costs: If your children are attending college, research scholarship opportunities or work-study programs. Also, find out whether your parents qualify for any federal, state or local benefits.
  • Set limits: Be clear with your children and parents about how much financial support you can realistically provide. Document the conditions of any loan in writing and have both parties sign and date it.

Bennett Whitlock, CRPC®, is a private wealth advisor and managing director with Whitlock Wealth Management, a franchise of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Learn more at or call 703-492-7732.


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