Investment options to avoid being the meat in your family sandwich

Ian MillerInvesting in Property, Investment options, Investment property adviceLeave a Comment

Are you a member of one of the fastest growing demographic groups: the Sandwich Generation?

Turns out you’re not alone. And the sandwich is growing! According to, three main demographic groups are affected by this issue:

Traditional Sandwich
Usually 30s-40s 
Caring for/helping ageing parents and raising their own children

Club Sandwich
Usually 50s-60s
Those sandwiched between the needs of elderly parents, adult children and caring for/helping with grandchildren

Open-Faced Sandwich
Suitable for all ages
Anyone else involved in elderly care

The research shows it’s a far-reaching issue that can potentially affect anyone over the age of 30. And when it comes to your finances, the ramifications can be huge.

For some people, it can affect their working life (and income) at those crucial pre-retirement years of life…

A Canadian study found one in seven affected workers had to reduce working hours or even give up work altogether to care for their dependents. In the US the total cost to employers (in absenteeism, interruptions and lost productivity) for all full-time, employed caregivers is an astounding $33.6 billion per year.

It is also not a temporary trend… factors fuelling the sandwich scenario include:

  • an ageing population
  • increasing life expectancy
  • growth of ‘two income’ families that require childcare options (now 67% of families with children under 18)
  • high cost of care for the elderly
  • adult children living at home longer – some into their 30s
  • couples having children later

So how do you protect yourself from becoming the meat in the sandwich?

Planning ahead and having agreed contingency plans is an important first step.

Talking together as a family is essential so every family member is aware of the needs and expectations of others – both now and in the future. Here are some key points for consideration by each generation:

1) Are you thinking about having children in the future?

Plan ahead now for a period of reduced household income:

  • Pay off your credit cards
  • Create a household budget
  • Practise living on one income
  • Investigate your leave and/or government assistance entitlements

If you have a home loan, explore your options for alleviating any future mortgage pressure, including childcare options and costs.

2) Are you a Baby Boomer with adult children still living at home?

Gen Y kids living at home into their 20s (and beyond) can be a great way for THEM to get ahead financially. However, the knock-on effect for mum and dad may be that retirement is delayed or retirement savings are depleted. How do you make it work for everyone?

3) Will you have to support your elderly parent(s) if their money runs out?

  • Become familiar with finances and care preferences of your parents. If you know the situation you can plan ahead.
  • Ensure necessary legal documents are in place, such as a health care directive and power of attorney.
  • Research entitlements, benefits and programs available through government agencies or non profit organisations. It helps if you know where to go for assistance BEFORE you need it.

This trend may become the ‘new normal’ for many families.

PLANNING IS THE KEY. But even with careful planning there may be life events that affect your financial situation. As your finance specialist we’re here to help you explore your options for managing unforeseen events.

Call us TODAY for a confidential chat that your kids and parents need never know about.


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