Smart Risk Magazine Spring 2018 | Page 25

SPRING 2 0 1 8 SANDWICH GENERATION 25 EMBRACING THE Sandwich GENERATION 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 live-in care? • What are the various housing options available in my parents’ area? • 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 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? 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.