As people around the planet live longer, extended families that include grandparents and even great-grandparents are becoming more common. These older adults are often cared for by their adult children, many of whom are baby boomers and are facing the financial strains of continuing to simultaneously provide assistance to both their parents and their children.
Research conducted by The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. has determined that the so-called “Sandwich Generation” is a growing phenomenon across the world. And while the issue has been more of a cultural norm in the extended family structure of countries such as South Korea and Germany (where, respectively, 49 and 40 percent of respondents say they care for both their parents and their children at the same time), even those in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan are facing the cross-generational crunch.
As a result, Hartford’s survey suggests, many people are coping by making lifestyle changes (such as cutting back on entertainment and vacations), delaying major purchases and, ultimately, putting off saving for their own retirement. Many are struggling to make ends meet.
Sandwich Generation members were also determined to be less confident and less optimistic than their peers about having the resources to sustain their lifestyles in their own retirement, and see themselves as having to work longer as a result – particularly in the United States and the U.K. Having a well-planned retirement savings plan is, as a result, of great importance to this generation.