The Sandwich Generation: Tips for Balancing the Needs of Children and Aging Parents.

Life-Settlement-Sandwich-GenerationIf you’re a member of the “sandwich generation” – adults who are caring for both their own young children and their elderly parents – then you’re no doubt familiar with the challenges and conflicts that arise on a monthly, weekly, even daily basis. You’ve somehow got to make it to your son’s school play and mom’s doctor appointment at the same time. Your high school-aged daughter needs to borrow the car to go out with friends, but dad also needs a ride to his book club. You have to pick up prescriptions, haggle with mom’s insurance company, and drop the kids off at soccer practice right after work – oh, and somehow feed everybody dinner, too.

If caring for children can be emotionally overwhelming, caring for children and your aging parents at the same time can, at times, feel impossible. How do you balance the needs of your children with those of your parents – and, of course, your own? How can you give your children the opportunities you’ve always wanted to, while also financially supporting your parents?

These are difficult questions for anyone to answer, and every family is different. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow that will help you make sense of your confusing new role.

Remember to care for yourself.

As parents, we’re often told to take time for ourselves in order to keep our relationship and family happy and healthy. It’s hard to do, and some of us aren’t good about doing it – but you’d be hard-pressed to find a mother or father who didn’t think it was necessary. For some reason, when we become caregivers for our parents it becomes even more difficult to find personal time.

Talk about finances honestly and openly.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: if you’re caring for aging parents, you have to be able to talk honestly about finances. If your parent is moving in with you and your family, will he or she be able to contribute toward monthly expenses? If your parent is living in an assisted living or long-term care facility, how much will they expect you and your siblings to contribute? At the same time, you should feel able to discuss your financial obligations to your own family. Are you saving for your children’s college? Are there camps, special trips, or academic opportunities that you need to be able to fund for your kids? The last thing your parents will want is to take away your ability to pay for these things. Having these conversations will help you prevent the misunderstandings that breed resentment, anger, and other negative feelings. As uncomfortable as it may be to ask your parents what they have saved, it’s a whole lot worse to experience a crisis and discover that mom and dad have little to no funds set aside for long-term care.   

Consider a life settlement.

Something families may want to discuss with their financial advisor is the life settlement option. Many seniors have life insurance policies that can be monetized now to relieve financial pressures on the family. Maybe long-term care is getting too expensive. A long-term care life settlement is an approved Medicaid spend down option.  Maybe a retirement fund isn’t as healthy as it should be. In these situations, life settlements can help seniors by providing a lump sum of cash that can be used for any needs.

If you find yourself in a situation where your client needs to restructure or exit a life insurance policy, be sure to contact an independent life settlement broker for an appraisal of fair market value. You can also refer to the life policy owners section of the LISA website for more information.

About the Author 

Jon B. Mendelsohn is CEO and Co-­‐founder of the Ashar Group a nationally licensed life settlement brokerage firm dedicated to representing the seller and their advisory team in appraising and securing fair market value for their life insurance. Jon is recognized in the industry as a thought leader and tireless champion for transparency and life settlement best practices. Jon is a sought after speaker on the national stage and a valued consultant to professionals working with sophisticated clients in the planning process. Jon graduated from the University of Florida with two bachelor degrees and a master’s degree. Jon is a proud supporter of the company cause, The Crohn’ and Colitis Foundation of America. He and his family reside in Orlando, Florida.