In 2021, around 3% of the UK population was providing care for more than one generation at once.
This statistic, while seemingly small, comes from a BBC report on the “sandwich generation” – those aged between around 45 and 54 – who are tasked with caring for both children and elderly parents at the same time.
If you’re part of this generation, you may have experienced a certain level of overwhelm, strain, or stress. While having a rich family life is a wonderful thing, financially supporting generations both above and below you could be causing some tension, especially during the cost of living crisis.
What’s more, with so many elements involved, it can be challenging to focus on your own dreams, goals, and priorities. Yet with retirement on the horizon, paying attention to core factors of your wealth could help you manage your current situation and prepare for what’s to come.
So, here are four elements that those in the sandwich generation could focus on for a more prosperous future.
1. Saving for retirement
According to research from Scottish Widows, published in a report from the Guardian, 1 in 5 people aged between 35 and 54 have cut or stopped pension contributions in the last year.
Even more concerningly, the research found that 35% of people are “not on track for even a minimum retirement lifestyle”, sparking new concerns about affordability.
If you’re part of the sandwich generation, you may have been caught by having to put others’ needs before your own. One self-preserving action you might have sacrificed is making regular pension contributions.
As retirement creeps closer, perhaps it’s time to revisit your pensions and become more proactive in your investments. This could include consolidating your funds, upping your contributions, or simply seeking advice about whether you’re on track to meet your retirement goals.
2. Putting money away for later-life care
If you’re supporting an elderly loved one, or several elderly relatives, you may already be aware that the cost of later-life care is increasing.
According to Care Home, as of September 2023:
- The average cost of a residential care home is now £760 a week
- Nursing care now stands at £960 a week on average.
As such, it may be prudent to begin setting funds aside for your own care in the future.
Of course, if you’re already offering financial support to an elderly loved one, you may feel it’s unaffordable to begin saving for your own later-life care too. Legal & General reports that 6 million of those in the “mid-life responsibility peak” are providing unpaid care or financial support to at least one loved one, on top of other family and work commitments.
In this case, it could be constructive to review your financial plan with a professional. A financial planner can help you review your expenditure, as well as assessing how your current circumstances could affect you later.
From this point, a professional can help guide you through various saving and investment options in time for your retirement. While supporting family is a priority, putting funds away for your own care in future can help prevent financial stress down the line.
3. Leaving an inheritance to the next generation
One aspect of your future that might matter greatly to you is leaving an inheritance to your children and grandchildren.
Although this might seem far away now, it’s important to consider how much you’d like to leave to those you love, and in what capacity.
There are plenty of options to discuss when planning how you’ll leave your inheritance, such as:
- Ringfencing funds within a trust for specific individuals
- Giving part of the inheritance before your death, or leaving the entire sum in your will
- Whether you’d like to leave shares, cash, property, or a combination of these assets.
What’s more, it’s vital to consider the fact that, should the worst happen, you may not have as much time as you originally thought to form your estate plans. As such, making a will now – something that can often fall by the wayside, especially for busy individuals with many responsibilities – can help put your mind at ease.
Ultimately, discussing your legacy plans with a professional can help you to put concrete plans in place for the future, even when your current circumstances are incredibly busy.
Financial planning can help you put the “now” and the “later” into one succinct plan that helps carry you through your “sandwich years”.
4. Prioritising your own happiness
You might be surprised to see “prioritising your own happiness” as a factor that is conducive to a prosperous financial future. But according to recent research, happiness is actually a central tenet within your relationship to money.
The Aegon Financial Wellbeing Index found that only 1 in 5 people are very aware of what makes their life enjoyable. However, their research also revealed that the stronger a vision a person has of their future, the lower their debt-to-income ratio is likely to be.
This tells us two things:
- More people should prioritise figuring out what makes them happy.
- Envisioning a happy future can actually have a positive effect on your money management.
If you’re a member of the sandwich generation, the time you spend dreaming about your own wellbeing may be very limited. After all, you could be prioritising others’ wellbeing over your own right now – and while this may be necessary, it’s essential to keep hold of your own dreams and goals too.
Luckily, working with a holistic financial planner can help you put your dreams and goals into action. Plus, with a financial plan in place, you may need to spend less time worrying about your finances, and feel able to dedicate more time to your own happiness, and that of your loved ones.
Get in touch
To learn more about how financial planning could benefit those in the sandwich generation, email us at [email protected], or call 01273 076 587.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.