The Sandwich GenerationBy Linda Emslie on 29 September 2017
Can you remember a time, when as a teenager you felt like you didn’t belong? I’m referring to something a little more than the usual teenage struggle for identity that most of us experinece. At the point of time I’m thinking of there was a lot of talk about the Baby Boomers and the effect they were having on the economy. How their shopping choices were driving demand and market responses.
If you’re that old then you’re just like me and can relate to the angst of the lost souls caught between the demographic profiling of the Baby Boomers and the next big thing, Gen Y.
Remember that? Yes? Then you are a Generation X, just like me, lost between the cashed up boomers and the up-and-coming trend setters.
Well, here it is just a few years later ;) OK decades later, and we’re on the brink of another much more unsettling facet of being the generation caught in the middle.
The trend I’m referring to here is not rosy. It’s been coined the “sandwich generation” by REST Industry Super in their White Paper “The Journey Begins” which was published in May 2017. It refers to us, stuck in the middle: with our Baby-Boomer parents moving into aged-care (and perhaps needing to be cared for by us first) and our children (bless them) living at home for longer and longer!
The “nest egg” that so many of us have been working hard for on the promise of a golden dream life when we retire, is now being chopped up and distributed between our day-to-day needs, the needs of our ageing parents, and to help our children get a firmer foothold out there in the world.
There is a need to make our slim financial resources stretch further and further.
Here are some unsettling stats contained in the REST White Paper:
- Nearly half of older (50+ years) working Australians expect to retire with debt.
- 1 in 3 (35%) retirees are living a “frugal” retirement.
- Older working Australians are likely to work for longer (if they can find employment) because they provide financial assistance to their:
- kids for things like education, home deposits, weddings and everyday expenses
- parents, for medical costs.
I see plenty of people in my healing space, from all walks of life, struggling to manage their individual variations of the scenario outlined above. For some of them, they are managing both ends: looking after parents, and helping out the kids. Many of them talk about either putting off their retirement, or not actually being able to see an end point, because the money isn’t going far enough.
This level of stress is heart-breaking to witness, and deadly to experience. The levels of stress induced by this type of squeeze are phenomenal. Don’t underestimate the impact it has on your health.
The good news is, you can still take action to change this. It is never too late to start turning your finances around, to change the trajectory of your current path.
Simple action steps you can take include:
- Change the way you think about money. You don’t work for it – make it work for you.
- Toss out your current rule book and take on a new financial literacy foundation that places you front and centre and in charge of your money. Stop playing the game by the “institutions” rules.
- Pay Yourself First! Rather than be a good citizen paying your bills first with nothing left at the end for you, turn it around. Pay yourself first.
- Develop an understanding that the money you earn today is not just for you today. It is for the future you. Develop a relationship with your future self and include them in your money decisions.
If you want to take decisive action, let’s talk. You can get in touch directly to ask questions – [email protected], or make a time for an in-depth discussion on your particular situation.
Linda is a certified Financial Fitness coach with Mindshift.money. She is also one of the Resident Coaches in their Financial Foundations community.