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Are you sandwiched between two generations: supporting your children and providing care for your parents? According to Statistics Canada, one in three Canadians between the ages of 45 and 64 has children under 25 still at home, and about one-quarter of those also care for aging parents.

This number is only likely to grow as Canadians continue to live longer and postpone child rearing, while at the same time, often struggling to save for their own retirements. Fellow “Sandwich Generationers” face many stressful issues, among them:

  • How do I know if my parents need a retirement, nursing home, or live-in care?
  • What are the housing options available in my parents’ area?
  • How do I have conversations with my parents about what they want vs. what they need?
  • Can my family afford the type of care I’m seeking for my parents?
  • What expenses will the government cover and how can I qualify?
  • How can I better prepare myself for my own potential care down the road?

Having to make these kinds of decisions can be overwhelming. This is where it can be helpful to reach out to a qualified investment advisor or Certified Financial Planner (CFP). As an advisor myself, here are some things a good advisor should be able to help you with.

Building a circle of trust.

Who should handle medical, legal and financial issues if you’re unable to do so. Ideally you want to identify people who only have your best interests in mind yet will also give you their objective advice or voice their concerns if they don’t agree with you.

Create financial safety nets.

These could include living benefits such as critical care insurance, which pays you a cash lump sum, tax-free, if you suffer from a covered illness. Long-term care insurance can provide a much-needed boost to cash flow during a long period of illness or disability and could relieve anxiety about potentially outliving your resources.

Prepare a critical document repository.

Keep important documents that outline your resources and preferences together in a binder, along with the names of key contact people and ways to reach them. This binder should be stored someplace convenient and be readily available should your “circle of trust” need to access information quickly.

Although your financial advisor can’t make family decisions for you, she can act as an objective sounding board and help you to navigate the financial side of being in the middle of the sandwich!

By Maili Wong, CFA, CFP, FEA and Author of “Smart Risk: Invest Like the Wealthy to Achieve a Work-Optional Life”


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