What is the sandwich generation and how can it plan for the future?
As a mother of teenage children, who works full time, with a mother who is suffering from deteriorating health due to Multiple Sclerosis, I find myself wondering how long it will be until I become part of the sandwich generation.
In my mind it won’t be long until I am trying to balance caring for my parents and raising my children; something that I want to be able to do, so that I can help care for my mother so that my father doesn’t have to take on all the responsibility himself.
However, this is not just about the physical “caring” side but also importantly considering the financial side of things too. Do my parents have everything in place to ensure that they will have the care that they need in the future? Are their investments/pensions as tax efficient as they can be when you consider their needs and inheritance tax planning? Are their Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney documents in place and valid. I know through my job experience that trying to arrange these items when capacity starts to reduce can become very complex and difficult.
There is no escaping that there is a lot to think about, but it is always important to start with the basics. Are my parents claiming all of the benefits that they are entitled to towards their care? There can be some reluctance here and confusion over what you can and cannot claim. The reality is that with the cost of care where it is today, accepting any help that they are entitled to now means that they will have this, as well as their own money, available to them should further care be required in the future.
Beyond this, things like ensuring that Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) documents are up to date are relevant to me as well as my parents. A number of clients that I speak to do not consider themselves “old” enough to have to worry about setting up an LPA, but if the last 18 months has taught us anything, it is that anything can happen to anyone at any time. The reality is that should anything happen, we would all want people that we trust and who care about us to be making decisions for us, when/if we are unable to make them for ourselves. A valid LPA takes time to arrange and register and is critical for those that need it, but also those that may have to make the decisions or at least help with them on behalf of the residual family. Should the worst happen, an up to date Will means that you can be confident that your wealth is being passed on in the way that you want.
At the same time as considering my parents situation, as one of the sandwich generation women I am trying to plan for my future and save what I can to ensure myself a comfortable retirement, as well as provide my children with a good start in their lives. For my finances, it is all about saving what I can, when I can and as tax efficiently as possible and reviewing everything on a regular basis. By starting my financial plan early it gives me the best chance of a secure life and hopefully one that means that my children do not have to worry about my care funding in the future.
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