DEFINITION of ‘Sandwich Generation’
The generation of middle-aged individuals who are pressured to support both aging parents and growing children. The sandwich generation is named so because they are effectively “sandwiched” between the obligation to care for their aging parents – who may be ill, unable to perform various tasks or in need of financial support – and children, who require financial, physical and emotional support. The trends of increasing lifespans and having children at an older age have contributed to the sandwich generation phenomenon.
BREAKING DOWN ‘Sandwich Generation’
A 2005 Pew Center study estimated that one in eight Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 are simultaneously providing some financial assistance to both a child and a parent. The obligations placed on the sandwich generation demand considerable time and money. With the added pressures of managing one’s own career and personal issues, as well as the need to contribute to one’s own retirement, the individuals of the sandwich generation are under significant stress. In some cases, these baby boomers are having to postpone their own retirements because of the added financial obligations. Also, some members of the sandwich generation are further overextended by caring for their grandchildren.