Balancing retirement planning with caretaking: Tips for the Sandwich Generation

Talking to elderly women about retirement
Dylan Huang

Dylan Huang   SVP & Head of Retail Annuities

Balancing retirement planning with caretaking: Tips for the Sandwich Generation

By Dylan Huang, Head Retirement and Wealth Management Solution, New York Life

Juggling your financial needs and long-term goals while caring for your children and aging parents on a daily basis can be a lot to handle.

Having such competing priorities can make it challenging to adhere to a financial strategy and feel confident about what lies ahead. A recent survey conducted by New York Life shows that COVID-19 has put additional stress on this ‘sandwiched’ generation. For some, their financial circumstances may have changed due to the pandemic, while others have become caregivers as a result of the current global health crisis.1

Further compounding this problem is the fact that caring for children and an aging relative is both expensive and time consuming – and impacts more than just finances. The Sandwich Generation’s sacrifices often come at the expense of their own physical and emotional health. While the financial costs of being part of the Sandwich Generation are high, averaging $1,000 per month to care for an aging relative, the emotional and physical costs can also add up, according to our survey. In fact, nearly half of respondents reported having less time for rest and relaxation, sleeping, physical exercise, or caring for their own well-being. While the demands of caregiving and the volatility of the environment can be a lot for one person to navigate, the good news is there are steps you can take to help you feel more prepared for what lies ahead.

Meeting with a financial professional can help achieve better financial outcomes.

The financial impact of a dual caregiving role can be significant, particularly since those in the Sandwich Generation expect to be in a caregiving position and providing support for both their children and an aging relative for six-plus years. The survey found that 43% of those prepared to provide care for that time period with no adjustments to their financial strategies are working with a financial professional. Notably, the impact for women who work with financial professionals is even greater: women who work with financial professionals are nearly twice as likely to agree they would be able to provide three or more years of care before adjusting their financial strategies.

Having a financial strategy boosts confidence.

Based on our research, members of the Sandwich Generation who reported feeling prepared to provide care are more likely to have a long-term financial strategy, including boosting their own retirement and protecting their emergency savings. By establishing a financial strategy, those in the Sandwich Generation can feel confident that they can meet the needs of those depending on them without sacrificing their own financial goals.

For those in the Sandwich Generation, the responsibilities may be daunting, but you don’t have to tackle these challenges alone. Having a financial strategy and working with a trusted financial professional is critical to your financial, physical and emotional health. By ensuring your own financial future—like having proper life insurance coverage, an adequate emergency fund, a fully diversified investment portfolio in line with your risk tolerance and participating in company-sponsored retirement solutions—you can better care for yourself and your loved ones and are incorporating all the vital elements of a protection-first financial strategy. The key is getting started! 

To learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Sandwich Generation, read the full report.

About the author

Dylan Huang is senior vice president and head of Retirement and Wealth Management Solutions at New York Life. In this role, he is jointly responsible for all aspects of New York Life’s career agency-sold businesses and directly oversees a portfolio of businesses comprised of Retail Annuities, Long-Term Care Solutions, NYLIFE Securities LLC (broker-dealer), and Eagle Strategies LLC (Registered Investment Adviser). In addition, Mr. Huang is a member on various senior management committees, including the Product Approval Committee, Capital Investment Committee, and Operating Expense Committee.

Mr. Huang began his career at New York Life in 2001 and advanced to leadership roles of increasing scope in the company's Life Insurance, Annuities, Agency, and Corporate Finance divisions. He is a recognized thought leader in the retirement industry for product development, patents, and award-winning retirement research and is frequently sought by members of the media for his insights on retirement topics. In 2021, Mr. Huang received the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award from the Asian American Business Development Center.

Mr. Huang is a member of The American College's advisory boards for its Center for Retirement Income, which elevates retirement income planning knowledge of financial service professionals to improve retirement security for Americans, and its Granum Center for Financial Security, which strengthens the financial services industry through knowledge and insight that professionals can use to help their clients achieve financial security. He also sits on the board of Virtual Enterprises International, an organization dedicated to providing middle and high school students with immersive business and entrepreneurial experiences.

Mr. Huang is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia.

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1The survey data is from a poll conducted July 22 – August 5, 2020 among a national sample of 1,000 ‘Sandwich Generation’ adults (i.e., those caring for both a child(ren) and an aging relative(s)). The interviews were conducted online and results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Margin of error increases as sample size decreases.

Notes: SMRU #1876301 Exp. 6/30/23 (for white paper)