WOMEN OF WEALTH STUDY 2013

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: HOW DOES THE SANDWICH GENERATION WOMAN NOT GET SQUEEZED?

Millions of Americans are serving double duty caring for both children and aging relatives. This group, called the Sandwich Generation, feels pressure to help those they care about while still working to achieve personal balance.

Women represent the majority of individuals in the Sandwich Generation, typically working and caring for young and aging loved ones. The typical woman caught in the middle of the generations spends at least 20 hours a week caregiving which carries with it high costs, personally, financially and professionally.

A WIDESPREAD AND GROWING PROBLEM

The Family Wealth Advisors Council Women of Wealth (“WoW Study”) national study revealed that the Sandwich Generation dilemma was the single most significant transition challenge that women would face in the coming years. Studies have shown that the extreme stress of being a family caregiver causes premature aging and can take as much as 20 years off a family caregiver’s life. More than 90% of the women in the WoW Study told us that they were very concerned about having to make financial decisions during stressful moments – being called upon to meet the needs of multiple generations surely qualifies as stressful! Understanding the complexities and strategies to successfully navigate the pressure of caring for multiple generations is critical.

KEY TO SUCCESS

There are two sides to the Sandwich Generation dilemma – the young and the old. To be successful, a woman in this space in life must be able to think proactively and create a plan that provides for sharing the burden of care with the next generation as well as understanding options for aging loved ones. When a parent gets on the “warning track” to dementia in the 3-5 years prior to diagnosis, many bad mistakes occur in handling finances. This can be a very large financial burden to the rest of the family. Understanding the early warning signs of dementia, creating a family culture of communication around the aging process and future care plans, working with your loved one to get their finances in order, and understanding different housing options for the aging is key when creating a plan.

FWAC has also found that creating the right support team is a characteristic of the successful Sandwich Generation woman. Our WoW Study showed that 80% of the women interviewed preferred to work with a wealth manager to quarterback their team of advisors to help with complex issues like those faced when caring for both the young and aging.

Each stage of managing the needs of multiple generations will have its own intensity, rhythm and challenges. Take care of yourself first. Finding ways to create balance in the midst of these pressures will provide tremendous benefits to the Sandwich Generation woman.

TAKING THE NEXT STEP

As the challenges of the Sandwich Generation continue to grow, it is vital to understand how to prepare early and notice signs of early aging to protect the future of your loved ones. For more information regarding the Sandwich Generation, please contact Sharon Allen at Sharon@SterlingWealthManagement.com or Dennis Stearns at dstearns@stearnsfinancial.com.

NOW AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK DOWNLOAD FROM AMAZON

The second research paper from the Family Wealth Advisor Council’s Women of Wealth Study, “Caught in the Middle: How Does The Sandwich Generation Woman Not Get Squeezed?” is available to purchase and download as an ebook at the Amazon Kindle Store.

Click here to visit the Kindle Store at Amazon.com

WHEN TO START THE AGING CONVERSATION

  • Obvious decline in mental or physical abilities
  • A concerning event occurs, big or small
  • Change in behavior or routine

RESOURCES FOR THE SANDWICH GENERATION WOMAN

Retirement Housing Options – Important Questions (493kb PDF)

Communication Tips When Working With Aging Loved Ones (496kb PDF)

Additional Resources – Frequently Asked Questions (503kb PDF)

WORKING WITH A TEAM

Women who work with a team of advisors to navigate the Sandwich Generation dilemma tend to be most successful. The Family Wealth Advisors Council asked women across the country to share their preferences about working with a team of professional experts. Overwhelmingly, they responded with a preference for a true Wealth Manager to act as the “quarterback” of their various advisors as shown in the graph below.

Source: Women Of Wealth Study, “Caught In The Middle: How Does The Sandwich Generation Woman Not Get Squeezed?” (2014)

Women of Wealth

Millions of Americans are serving double duty caring for both children and aging relatives.

This group, called the Sandwich Generation, feels pressure to help those they care about while still working to achieve personal balance.