What is the Sandwich Generation?

August 25, 2022

More commonly, people between the ages of 35-60 are caring for their parents and children simultaneously. This demographic group is colloquially referred to as the "sandwich generation". According to the American Psychological Association, the sandwich generation balances the demanding, delicate acts of caring for growing children and their aging parents.

As financial advisors, we must recognize the needs of our clients in the sandwich generation. First, we must understand what particular pain points they may suffer from. Common pain points amongst the sandwich generation stem from:

  • Being financially responsible for their children & parents.
  • Not having enough time for self care. 
  • Emotional & physical stress.

According to Danielle Miura, Certified Financial Planner® and Founder of Spark Financials, the most common problem the sandwich generation has is not having enough time in their day to care for themselves, their children, and their parents. Miura can relate to her client's problems because she herself is part of the sandwich generation. In fact, she cares for her mother and grandmother! Danielle is an advocate for finding healthy ways to deal with stress.

These challenges can present themselves in different ways. Often, the financial impact is most significant, but the emotional and physical stress also takes a toll on the sandwich generation. How can financial advisors best serve clients in the sandwich generation? It's tough, but the first step is having awareness of your clients’ situation and stressors.

When speaking with Marguerita Cheng, Certified Financial Planner® and CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, she said that some of her most underserved clients are "women entrepreneurs and the sandwich generation". She noted that many of her sandwich generation clients don't recognize themselves as being underserved. To fill that gap, Cheng helps her clients with planning to financially support their parents; she calls this "financial wellbeing planning”. It’s a growing need among clients in the wealth management industry. 

If your clients fit into the sandwich generation, you can help them by first being aware of the intricacies of their situation. Second, take note of how they choose to deal with stress. Be more than just their financial advisor; care about their unique needs. 

Are you part of the Sandwich Generation?

Members of the sandwich generation, you're not alone, and financial help is just a call away. It’s important to consider your financial preparedness. Before meeting with financial advisors, you can do the following:

  • Talk to your parents about their financial situation.
  • Ask about insurance and college planning in meetings with your financial advisor.
  • Be open about potential medical needs.

Thank you to Marguerita Cheng, CFP®, RICP® of Blue Ocean Global Wealth and Danielle Miura, CFP® of Spark Financials for contributing to this article.