According to Investopedia, 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.
I don’t know much about other countries but in the Philippines, the “sandwich generation” problem is a cultural thing, ie., it has been passed on from generation to generation. Therefore, it’s a given.
But… is it necessarily a bad thing? Nothing wrong with caring for family members. In fact, it is even biblical, referring to 1 Timothy 5:8 – “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith….”.
However, while it is noble to care for our families, each of us should “strive to cut the cycle” of this sandwich generation. By cutting it, I mean, we should also do our part to minimize the impact of the “financial burden” that will be borne by the “sandwich generation”. Of course, this is not to insinuate that it should be totally wiped out because let’s face it, sooner than later, we will also traverse the path of the upper generation.
“The whole point of this is that we should get rid of the entitlement mentality.”
So, how do we lessen our dependence on the “sandwich generation” or how do we avoid becoming one? You cannot, until you educate yourself and your family financially. How? Invest in financial education. Attend financial planning seminars for free or for a fee whenever there’s one in your area or talk to a reliable and experienced Financial Advisor who can give you sound advice on how to prepare for your future financially.
The whole point of this is that we should get rid of the entitlement mentality and while we really cannot totally cut our dependence on the “sandwich generation”, by having the right financial education, we learn to prepare for the future so that we do not pass on the burden 100% to our family members who are sandwiched between two generations.
The reality is, we must learn to be financially independent as soon as we start earning income because in the end, we will be judged on how well we managed our resources or finances well.
Ronnie Reyes is a Senior Financial Advisor and an MDRT Qualifier (2016) of AXA Philippines. Contact him to discuss your financial planning requirements.