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Can the Sandwich Generation Retire With Sanity (and Savings) Intact?

Retire with Sanity

Maybe you've heard of the sandwich generation but don't really think you're a part of it.

Consider this: Merriam-Webster defines the sandwich generation as a generation of people who are caring for their aging parents while supporting their own children. If you're one of the many adults who provide some financial support to your adult children and some care duties for your parents, you are a part of this generation. Likely, you’re feeling some of the financial stress that goes along with the responsibilities.

It's clear that your children aren't fully ready to leave the nest, and your aging or disabled parents can no longer make it alone. Thus, you've pushed the idea of retirement planning out of your mind. You'll worry about it a few years down the road – or maybe retire on your 100th birthday.

It may seem impossible at first glance, but retirement planning is possible for the sandwich generation. You might not be able to approach retirement in the same way as your parents, or even your peers, but your future is coming and you need to prepare. When planning for retirement savings you need a road map, determination, and the right tools to help you succeed. In fact, getting started might be the hardest step.

Jump Start Your Future With an Unstoppable Plan

A vague idea to occasionally put away money for retirement will quickly get swallowed up by life's little demands. Your goal is retirement, and you need a plan to make it happen. Whether you had a plan in the past and put your retirement savings on hold, or you haven't even begun to seriously consider your future, you might want to speak with a financial advisor.

Your retirement savings plan should include the following:

  1. A clear idea of when you expect to retire: You can't have retirement planning without a concrete goal. Your target retirement age will be a major influence point over your budget in the future.

  2. A strict budget: While you may feel as though you're cutting costs in every way possible, try to notice where you could curb spending. For instance, buying prepared lunch every day or picking up a morning coffee can quickly add up. Consider packing tasty lunches several days a week and carrying a thermos.

  3. Opportunities for assistance along the way: Yes, you can (and should!) ask for help. Financial assistance or student loans are available for most college students and seniors are eligible for many types of assistance as well.

Once you have the bare bones of your plan in place, you'll be ready to talk about the changes with your family members and consider your options for a retirement savings account.

There’s More Than One Way to Plan for the Future

Making Your Future a Priority

Nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s are navigating the rough terrain of financial issues related to caring for aging parents and financially dependent children at the same time. Not surprisingly, many of these caregivers are shouldering the related stress alone. Planning for your future means having a serious talk with the family members who depend on you.

A Responsible Conversation With the Kids

You may be hoping to give your children all of the support you can, but helping them avoid responsibility will not only derail your future, it will leave them unprepared for their own. Start by getting everything out in the open. Explain your finances to your children and discuss their potential responsibilities of finding ways to pay for college. If they're working and still living at home, devise a plan that requires them to help shoulder expenses. The bottom line is that your future retirement will have a major impact on the adult lives of your children. If you don't properly prepare, you'll be passing financial difficulties down to the next generation.

A Respectful Conversation With Your Parents

It's common to feel obligated to take complete responsibility for your aging parents, but this is likely the worst idea. The money you save during your 40s and 50s will be gaining valuable interest as you inch toward your own retirement. Before spending your savings, you should determine what assets your parents still have to be spent on their care. When their assets are exhausted, they'll be eligible for certain assistance programs like Medicare. Talk to your parents about their available savings and retirement income.

It's also time to learn the details of your parent's life insurance policy. While it's likely a difficult subject for you, your parent might be relieved to have the opportunity to get a life insurance policy. Providing you with this money when they're gone may relieve the worries they have about saving their assets for your inheritance.

Outside the Box Saving Products Could Be Your Retirement Planning Solution

Many companies offer a 401(k) or other retirement plans that allow you to contribute and earn interest over time. However, these plans aren't available in all industries or positions. Luckily, there are other options to help you protect your retirement savings. These options aren't your typical retirement planning solutions but they have plenty of benefits to offer.

Can the Sandwich Generation Retire With Sanity (and Savings) Intact?

You might not be able to approach retirement in the same way as your parents, or even your peers, but your future is coming and you need to prepare.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a low risk investment ($1,000 minimum) that matures over time (typically 3 months to 10 years). When your CD matures, you can take out the money with the interest you've earned or reinvest it into another CD. Another option (sometimes called a ladder strategy) is to open multiple CDs with varying maturity dates leading to your retirement.


An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a tax-advantaged retirement planning account that allows you to invest your money in different ways. When you open a CD in an IRA, you create a longer-term retirement plan than a traditional CD. Additional penalties exist if you withdraw funds from your IRA before you're 59 and a half.

Disability Insurance

While disability insurance isn't technically a retirement plan, it is an investment in your future. More than one in four of today's 20-year-olds can expect to miss at least a year of work due to a disability before reaching retirement age. When you have multiple family members depending on your income, a serious injury or illness could be catastrophic. Disability insurance can provide much needed funds to keep you afloat.

Long Term Care Insurance

Investing in long-term care insurance for your parents is a practical decision. In the event of an injury or illness later in life, you'll have a financial safety net to extend your retirement planning savings.

Life Insurance

Obtaining a life insurance policy for yourself, your spouse and your parents could prevent your children from continuing the cycle of financial instability.

Retirement planning is possible to plan for the future without abandoning the family members who depend on you. The key is prioritization. PrimeWay and PrimeWay Insurance Agency can help with all of the above savings options. Full investment services through PrimeWay Investment Resources are also offered to our members with registered investment professionals.

Author Bio

Chad Carpenter

Look up digital marketing master in the dictionary and you will see Chad’s face. Chad has more than 18 years of digital marketing experience, including several years in the agency world. When he’s not clacking away on his keyboard optimizing PrimeWay’s digital presence, Chad enjoys good food, good friends and good movies (just don’t expected him to watch any in interactive 4D). Chad has two cats, one that loves him and one who is aloof.

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