By Coach Fin
Are you caring for both your kids and your parents? According to Pew Research Center, about 12% of American parents find themselves in the “Sandwich Generation” — caring for kids under age 18 while providing unpaid care for an adult. Being sandwiched between the needs of two generations poses financial challenges that can feel overwhelming. But you can manage with some planning, honest conversations and self-care.
Plan for yourself so you can care for others
It’s tempting to set aside your own needs during this time of life. You might feel like your needs pale in comparison to your kids and parents. But remember, if you aren’t taken care of, you won’t have much left in the tank to provide for others.
You need to care for your own physical and mental well-being so you have the strength to be your best for the people you love. Likewise, you need to take care of your own financial health first. Here are three ways to do that:
Parents, plans and policies
Once you have your own financial house in order, talk to your parents or other older loved ones you care for. Finances can be a touchy subject. It might help to stress that you’re just gathering information to help them identify any gaps and to put a plan together as a family.
What resources do they have in place?
- Write down all sources of income, investments, insurance policies and expenses in one place.
- Review the related policy documents and financial statements.
- Identify any pressing unmet needs and help make sure funds are spent wisely.
If there’s not enough savings to support increasing health needs, you might consider long term care coverage to support you and your parents.
Kids, cars and college
While you don’t want to worry your children about family finances, teaching them financial literacy is a gift that will serve them (and you) well. Give kids an age-appropriate understanding about family income and expenses, especially if it involves costs for the care of their grandparents or other loved ones.
Teens can contribute by working part time to pay for a car, car insurance, gas, cell phones or other things they want. They can help save for college, too. Help them understand the true cost of college, including books, computers, and fees, on top of tuition, room and board. Explore with them the loans, grants and scholarships that can be part of the equation.
With everyone pitching in, you can help provide care to your loved ones, while staying healthy and secure for yourself and the people who need you.
Let Cinfed help
You don’t have to have all the answers or go it alone. Cinfed Credit Union is here to help you plan, save and build financial knowledge. You can find help with debt management, learn about retirement planning or get your youngsters started with their own savings. Contact your local Cinfed branch to talk to a financial coach about how we can help you plan for yourself and the people you love.