(all stats below courtesy of recent MetLife research referenced in the linked article...)When aren't there financial landmines to avoid when you're in your 50's? The link below describes one specific, possibly painful, unavoidable one. Sandwiched 50-somethings: aging parents are one sandwich component. Kids young enough to still require your support are another "slice," leaving you as the filling with the prospect of a hard financial chomp.MetLife found the proportion of adult children providing personal care and/or financial help to a parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years. A quarter of adult children, mostly Boomers, provide some form of care to a parent. This entails a nasty interruption of what, theoretically, are peak earning years. What if those sandwich fillings feel especially obligated and determined, so much so that they exit the workforce early?For those age 50 and older who leave the labor force early to care for an aging parent, the cost of providing that care averages $303,880 when you factor in lost wages, lost Social Security benefits, and the negative impact on pensions, according to the study.Flavorful actual sandwiches are meant to be happily consumed. This type of sandwich has a very bitter taste, making it hard to swallow and digest.http://www.cnbc.com/id/101367014/page/1
< A quarter of adult children, mostly Boomers, provide some form of care to a parent. ... This type of sandwich has a very bitter taste, making it hard to swallow and digest....>The "sandwich" caregiver is often highly stressed and suffers poor health. The stress actually shortens the telomeres (protective caps on DNA), shortening life.http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/telomeres.htmCHRONIC STRESS CAN STEAL YEARS FROM CAREGIVERS' LIFETIMESCOLUMBUS , Ohio – The chronic stress that spouses and children develop while caring for Alzheimer's disease patients may shorten the caregivers' lives by as much as four to eight years, a new study suggests.The research also provides concrete evidence that the effects of chronic stress can be seen both at the genetic and molecular level in chronic caregivers' bodies. [end quote]Financial stress added by children worsens stress.This is a serious macro problem, as you said.Wendy
When aren't there financial landmines to avoid when you're in your 50's? The link below describes one specific, possibly painful, unavoidable one. Sandwiched 50-somethings: aging parents are one sandwich component. Kids young enough to still require your support are another "slice," leaving you as the filling with the prospect of a hard financial chomp.A very interesting theme. I had never reflected about the odd kind of `luck` I had: my parents (due in good part to WW2, then their desire to establish themselves soundly through the years of reconstruction in bombed-to-the-ground post-war Italy) had me pretty late in their lives; I, on the contrary, with a good engineering degree earned when I was still quite young, and good jobs stemming from that, married and started having children very early.As a result, even though my parents lived to ripe old ages, they've now both passed; my two older children, now in their '30s, have good degrees and jobs (and they were kind enough to my wallet to do their studies in Europe's public universities, saving me a fortune compared to US ones;-). The third one's midway through (US) college; only the youngest one not in college yet, but it looks like their 529's will hold up decently well and allow them to make it through bachelor degrees debt-free (their ability to find and hold good part-time jobs in retail, with promotions and raises, also helps of course;-).So, even though I'm exactly in that "my 50's" demographics, and having chosen to have a larger family than average, I'm not really feeling the pinch of that sandwich effect, personally. So it's particularly helpful to me to be reminded that it is quite a widespread problem with "macro trends and risks" implications -- thanks!
MetLife found the proportion of adult children providing personal care and/or financial help to a parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years. A quarter of adult children, mostly Boomers, provide some form of care to a parent. This entails a nasty interruption of what, theoretically, are peak earning years. What if those sandwich fillings feel especially obligated and determined, so much so that they exit the workforce early?I, personally, am an "open-faced sandwich with a side of brother." I will hit 50 in October, and I don't have kids, but I do have a parent whose health has taken a swift decline... yet paradoxically, she's healthy, too. My mom will be 77 next month, with terrible arthritis and Parkinsons, but she's actually very healthy, too, with no diabetes, no heart problems, etc. that tend to start to plague people at this age. We have a very small family--just me and my brother, who happens to live with my mom because of his own problems from a brain injury years ago. I left my career track job in 2012 and moved back to town to be closer to them. I still work full time, but am in a geographical location where there simply are no other jobs in my field, and promotions at my current company aren't going to happen because of my location--I'd have to move to move up, and my mom is not willing to do that, and financially can't... and her doctors are here. My mom can't drive anymore, and while my brother works, he needs help with some things. And when I say they have no money... that's pretty much of an understatement. My mom did NOT plan well for her retirement. I have NO idea how someone my age with kids still at home would deal with it. I spend a good bit of money on my mom--extra groceries, extra gas for trips to the doctor, I end up buying odds and end of prescriptions, etc. I pay for a cell phone for her so that she can reach me any time. I personally haven't had a raise in 3 years, and there won't be one this year, either. Still, I'm very fortunate in that my salary is still pretty good, and I live in a low-cost area. I'm saving for retirement, but I'd hoped to start making "catch-up contributions" this year, but I don't think I'll be able to max that out. I have no idea what's going to happen if/when my mom had to go into assisted living. It's probably not going to be a great place, because the money just isn't there... and then there's the question of my brother, who will likely have to come live with me if she has to give up her house. It still has a mortgage, and he can't come close to covering the payments. I'd say that $303K number cited in the article is probably on the low side in terms of what all of this will cost me, when I factor in the lost raises and promotions, lost pension contributions (contingent on salary), lost extra contributions to my retirement funds, plus the amounts that I spend to prop them up in one way or another.YET: I would not have made a different decision. I went over last night, made dinner, and had a really nice visit with them, did a few small chores my mom asked me to do. There's been so low points with this life change for me, and I'm sure there will be more. But it's a privilege to be able to do it, and in this case, I think there are some things more important than money. I have enough. I'd like to have more, but I don't, but I'm grateful to have what I have and to be where I am.
MissKeeler,The bottom line is gratitude. In the last week I have had a similar conversation with two friends. One is 62 in a few weeks and has a non-progressive MS. The other is a dear older friend who is in her early 72s. Both have some means. They are hardly wealthy in either case. The 72 year old lives in a somewhat tougher neighborhood. She has an older landlord so she has done the show shoveling for him all winter. It has been a tough winter. She says she is in shape for it. As it stands now she has probably too much money to get HUD housing. I pointed out to her that she needs to get on the waiting lists in a better town. She would be waiting five years for a chance to get into the HUD housing. And when offered a spot she could always so no. She will be in her upper 70s by the time she is offered a spot. Her landlord will have passed or she will be shoveling a lot of snow. She thanked me for the advise. The MS friend is thinking of retiring early. His doctors have said they will sign the paper work to get him SSDI as soon as possible. So his medical coverage would be Medicare immediately. I remembered discussions here last week on Social Security for disabled folks starting out at the retirement pay levels of a 65 year old. Remember he is only approaching 62. And so I told him the waiting lists for HUD housing are usually 5 years and he needed to get into line. He can always say no 5 years from now. He too thanked me for great advise. The bottom line is to open up the available choices even if you decline them later. Dave
EdithI have enough. I'd like to have more, but I don't, but I'm grateful to have what I have and to be where I am. What a mature statement when companies are putting out all these advertisements to make you want "ever more." As a retired research scientist, I can testify that research scientists feel they never get enough credit, and I am no exception. I have to tell myself all the time not to always want more. Actually in my case, I got quite a bit to be happy with.brucedoe
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