THE SANDWICH GENERATION
Asked by numerous women whether they should quit their job to stay at home and care for a sick parent or spouse, I have always said “NO!” Keep on working.
Quitting your job to stay home and care for a sick parents, or even a spouse, severely jeopardizes your overall – current and future – financial well-being. The snowball effect works against the caregiver.
- Contributions to social security, pensions and IRA plans are reduced, thereby severely reducing retirement income.
- Caregiver savings may have to be used to pay current bills for self and family as well as for care recipient. This reduces retirement financial well-being.
- Caregiver savings for funding children’s college is reduced and monies would not be available to pay for such education. Loans taken by both parents and children place everyone in debt.
- Caregiver stress can end in caregiver health problems, thereby reducing ability to care for parent/spouse. Millions of caregivers end up in emergency rooms because of stress created medical conditions.
- Caregiver medical bills can drain savings if there is no health insurance, because there is no job.
- Continuing to work -- even on a reduced basis -- means that caregivers will
- have increased retirement income;
- have money to pay for children’s college education;
- be able to pay someone else to do ADL and IADL tasks, thus
- relieving the sandwich generation stress and responsibilities;
- have better self health.
This snowball effect theory of mine, developed years ago, is strongly supported by a recent MetLife study that puts caregiver financial loses at $3 trillion a year. This amount will skyrocket as more baby boomers become sandwich generationers and elder caregivers.