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Helping your Sandwich Generation clients

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For many of your clients in their 40s and 50s, they’re experiencing a unique life stage where they’re financially supporting their aging parents or relatives and grown children. Several are also living in a multigenerational household and are trying to balance their career and financial goals while caring for their family members. Known as the Sandwich Generation, this group of individuals is facing both financial and emotional challenges, especially when they have caregiving responsibilities as well. 

Who is the Sandwich Generation?
Adults in their 40s and 50s who are raising kids or financially supporting grown children while caring for older family members.

A recent study by Athene revealed that nearly half of the Sandwich Generation is putting off retirement to offer financial support to aging extended family or adult children and 46% of respondents are tapping into retirement assets to help cover these expenses. With financial responsibilities coming from both sides, many of these clients may be feeling the squeeze. To help them navigate this situation and keep their own financial goals on track, it will not only require a flexible financial plan, but having open conversations with their family about money and achieving financial independence.

Offer trusted guidance and support

Among the study’s respondents, 36% of men report that they work with a financial professional, while only 15% of women seek this assistance. With the number of financial responsibilities this generation may be juggling, having professional guidance is more important than ever. Many of these clients are in their peak earning years and are busy trying to build their savings for the future. If grown kids are returning home and family members require financial assistance and daily care, financial priorities may quickly shift. Help reassure clients that by working together, you can create a flexible financial plan that accounts for these current responsibilities, but keeps their own financial goals front and center.

As their go-to resource for information, you can also offer advice on understanding their parents’ finances and estate planning and what questions they want to be asking, including:

  • What are your current sources of income?
  • Who is the executor of your estate?
  • What are your plans for the future?
  • Do you have plans for end-of-life care?

Show how to improve retirement readiness

Many of your Sandwich Generation clients may be putting retirement savings on hold as they help pay down their children’s debt or support their aging parents. When asked what concerns they have for retirement, respondents said they were worried about:

  • Maintaining their standard of living
  • Not having enough assets to retire
  • Having to rely on adult children for financial support
  • Lack of access to affordable health care
  • Declining health that requires long-term care

Reassure them that their financial wellness is extremely important and that there are steps they can take to keep their retirement on track. By creating a diversified financial portfolio that addresses all of their goals and future income needs, they can make sure their personal finances are still a priority, even if they are supporting other family members at the moment.

The study found that 55% of respondents say supporting family has affected their retirement readiness. That percentage decreases to 30% for those who have an annuity as part of their financial strategy. Since many annuities can offer growth potential and principal protection along with guaranteed income, these options may be a good fit for your Sandwich Generation clients who are looking to create a more secure retirement. 

55% of respondents say supporting family members has affected their retirement readiness. That percentage decreases to 30% for those that own an annuity.

Help guide positive financial discussions 

Along with offering financial support, many Sandwich Generation parents are also helping their grown kids expand their money knowledge. According to the study, almost 60% of respondents are helping their children learn about financial independence, including:

  • Assisting with opening a checking or savings account
  • Explaining credit and debit 
  • Encouraging employment
  • Introducing budget management

Find helpful ways to educate your clients so they can educate their loved ones. You can also offer to mediate money conversations between family members if they find these discussions challenging. Oftentimes talking about money can be a source of stress, but with your guidance and encouragement, these important discussions can be more productive. Encourage your clients to meet with you regularly to assess if their needs have changed and to determine how you can offer more support. Even with the unique challenges they may be facing, your Sandwich Generation clients can find financial balance and empower those around them to reach financial independence as well. 

Check out our Sandwich Generation toolkit  to gain insight into this group’s unique needs and find a variety of resources you can use directly with your clients. 

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