Many professional women find themselves in the challenging position of caring for aging parents while also raising their children—a classic “Sandwich Generation” dilemma.
As a result, women may find themselves juggling the needs of their parents and children while also allocating energy to their career, marriage, retirement planning, and other priorities. For many, this can mean planning for retirement doesn’t get the attention it needs. During a time of many life changes, milestones, and responsibilities, it’s important that you keep your own financial objectives in mind. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming. Here are some small, manageable steps to help balance your long- and short-term financial needs.
Even if you have to use your income to supplement your parents’ care while also providing for your family, do not stop saving for retirement. By saving for retirement, you are helping to ensure your own financial future, which will put you and your family in a better financial position when you get older.
Preserve your retirement fund
When financing higher education, your children can apply for scholarships, loans, and financial aid. However, these options do not exist for either your retirement or your parents’ retirement. As future expenses unfold—for yourself, children, and aging parents—it’s important that you do not dip into your retirement savings to meet current needs.
Share the responsibility
If you have children approaching college, explain to them that they may need to take on more of the financial responsibility of funding their education. For adult children who have moved back home because of their own financial struggles, set parameters around how much you are willing to support them financially and a timeline for them to find a place of their own.
Talk to your parents about their own retirement planning. Work with them to identify their assets that will help offset their care and medical benefits, and reduce (or eliminate) your contributions. Also discuss the possibility of having them obtain long-term care insurance, which can help secure your parents’ finances without putting a burden on you.
Not only should you plan to save for retirement, you should also plan to grow and protect your assets once you are retired. Don’t forget to take into account your own potential medical needs and the possibility that someday you too may need long-term care.
It’s impossible to predict exactly what expenses will come your way; if large or unexpected expenses arise, you certainly do not want it to compromise your family’s comfortable lifestyle. You also don’t want to give up some of the things that give you fulfillment—perhaps travel, time with friends, or professional development.
AXA has more than 100 years of experience working with women to develop a suitable plan for their individual needs, personal goals, and future in retirement. To help keep your plans on track, consult with a financial professional today—before it gets overshadowed by everything else on your to-do list.