SPRING 2 0 1 8
BY: Maili Wong, CFA, Smart Risk Investing
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 age 25 living with them, and about
one-quarter of those also care for aging parents.
This number is only likely to grow as the trends show Canadians
continue to live longer and postpone child rearing while
focusing on their careers – while at the same time, often struggle
to increase savings for their own retirement. If you think you
may encounter this scenario down the road, you certainly are
not alone. Questions facing the Sandwich Generation can be
overwhelming, and may include:
• How do I determine if my parents need a more supportive
living environment, such as a retirement or nursing home or
• What are the various housing options available in my
• How do I navigate the tricky conversations around what my
parents want vs. what they need?
• Can my family afford the type of care I am seeking for my
• What expenses will the government cover and how can I
How can I better prepare myself for my own potential care
down the road?
While many of these are personal or family decisions requiring
a great deal of research and soul-searching, there are areas
where a qualified investment advisor or Certified Financial
Planner (CFP) can be helpful by navigating these conversations
and providing advice where needed. In my own practice, for
example, I work with people in the Sandwich Generation to
proactively prepare for their future care by helping them to:
1) Build a circle of trust. Start thinking about individuals you
would trust to handle medical, legal and financial issues should
you be unable to do so. Preferably, these should be people who
“have your back” but wouldn’t hesitate to voice their concerns
when they don’t agree with you.
2) Create financial safety nets. Consider investing in benefits for
the living, 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 also can provide a much-needed boost to
cash flow during a period of illness or disability, and will reduce
anxiety about potentially outliving your resources.
3) 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.
Everyone worries about their family and their future – it’s only
natural. Although your financial advisor may not be able to tell
you where Mom and Dad should go when their health declines,
they can become an all-important sounding board and advisor
on all things financial that affect your future.