Ever heard of the sandwich generation?


According to Statistics Canada, an estimated 30% of Canadians care for ageing parents while raising their own children (data from 2012). “Sandwiched” between the 2 priorities, these caregivers have a hard time setting aside enough for their own retirement plans.

Wanting to step up and take on financial responsibility for the family is commendable, but it needs to be part of a broader plan with a strategy that accounts for your current and future financial circumstances. That’s where an experienced professional can help you.

Finding a flexible strategy

People in the sandwich generation often turn to a financial advisor or planner to get a comprehensive and objective picture of their situation.

Financial management is a reflex best developed early in our working lives. According to Angela Iermieri, a financial planner with Desjardins, it means thinking about your own retirement, your kids’ education, your lifestyle, your health insurance, plans for your parents and for your estate.

Asking the right questions

Iermieri recommends bringing your parents or kids along when you meet with your advisor. Having a professional to talk it through can make it less awkward when you need to discuss what can be uncomfortable topics, like money and finances. It also gives everyone a chance to share their financial situation, objectives and expectations.

But to find the right answers, Iermieri says you need to ask yourself the right questions. “What kind of lifestyle do you want? Can you afford it? Do you want to keep the house or downsize to something smaller? How much help do you want to give your kids when they’re out of the house? Do you expect to care for your parents? These are important questions, and the answers will inform a strategy that can reduce financial stress down the road.”

Retirement and the sandwich generation

In 2031, 23% of Canadians will be over 65 (Statistics Canada, data from 2012). “People are living longer than ever, which means future retirees need to save even more,” says Iermieri. “Canadians are waiting longer to have kids, some getting started well into their 30s.” And these kids are depending on their parents longer than before. Juggling all these responsibilities can create an enormous strain on the sandwich generation’s finances, making it far more challenging to reach their retirement goals.

A financial plan can help you and your family get a handle on things, while limiting the stress that’s all too common when things don’t go as planned. Your advisor is more than just a personal finance specialist, they’re the support you need to achieve your financial goals.

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