Finding Balance in the Sandwich Generation

Are you faced with the dilemma of having to save for your own retirement while at the same time trying to raise your growing children and put money aside to fund their college educations, and support your aging parents? How do you juggle all these financial goals? How do you determine which is more important, or what path to take? Rest assured you are not alone in this problem.

To help define a solution, answer the following questions:

  1. How many years until you retire?
  2. How much income do you hope to have in retirement?
  3. How many years until your child starts college?
  4. Will your child be attending public or private college (and what’s the expected cost)?
  5. Do you anticipate your child will qualify for financial aid?

If you’ve run the numbers on both your anticipated retirement and college expenses and come up short, what do you do? It’s time to sit down and make some tough decisions about your expectations and, ultimately, what you can do to compromise. Realistically, while college is certainly an important goal, you should focus more on your retirement if you have limited funds (and, if you wait to start saving until your child is in college, you’ll miss out on years of tax- deferred growth and compounding of your money). Remember, your child can always take out a loan (or maybe even receive a scholarship) to attend college, but there is no such thing as a retirement loan.

You (and your child) might need to make some sacrifices to meet all your financial goals. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Reduce your standard of living to allow you to save more now
  • Invest more aggressively (although this also carries with it a greater risk)
  • Expect your child to contribute more money to offset college expenses (through loans or part-time work)
  • Send your child to a less expensive school (community college or state school vs. private school)

While it’s true that retirement accounts can be used to save for college, there may be negative consequences to doing so. It’s best to talk with a financial professional to determine the appropriate course of action, and to make sure you’re on track to meet your goals. If you or someone you know is part of this sandwich generation, contact our office for a consultation and review of your portfolio and budget. We can help you explore the options available for you and your family.

The above material was prepared by Securities America, Inc.