New York Life recently examined the ways COVID-19 has affected the Sandwich Generation, changing the demographic makeup of the group and exacerbating challenges to individuals’ financial, emotional and physical health. New York Life has released a new report, Caregiving and COVID-19: How the pandemic is expanding the sandwich generation, which details the findings.
To better understand the impact of the pandemic on this group, New York Life surveyed U.S adults who indicated they are currently providing any type of financial, housing, or caregiving support to an aging relative, as well as a child with a chronic condition or child under the age of 35.
The report includes data from recent New York Life surveys, as well as other third-party research, to explain the overall state of U.S. adults’ financial confidence in the midst of COVID-19, how the demographics of the Sandwich Generation have shifted as a result of the pandemic, as well as the financial outlook for the Sandwich Generation. It also highlights findings that point to how this group can improve its financial health, better enabling caregivers to provide for themselves and loved ones now and into the future.
“As the Sandwich Generation becomes younger and the economic outlook remains uncertain, preparing for the unexpected becomes critical to achieving long-term financial security,” said Jeff Beligotti, Vice President, Head of Long-Term Care Solutions at New York Life. “This is especially true for Millennials, who now make up a greater percentage of the Sandwich Generation while still managing the impact of the Great Recession on their early professional years. This group has the greatest opportunity to improve their financial, physical, and emotional outlook for the long-term by developing a sound financial strategy now.”
The report will focus on the following areas:
The Financial State of America: COVID-19
During the course of the pandemic, New York Life has studied the financial habits of the general population in a series of monthly tracking surveys. This section discusses the current financial environment and includes relevant findings taken from different waves of New York Life’s coronavirus tracking survey, which identified how Americans were approaching their finances as the pandemic and economy evolved.
The Sandwich Generation & COVID-19
On average, the cost of caring for an aging relative during the pandemic is about $1,000 per month More than half (54 percent) of those in the Sandwich Generation report spending more than usual each month caring for others as a result of the pandemic, with nearly one-in-four (23 percent) spending at least $200 more than usual each month.
The Sandwich Generation has been uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the care this group provides for both aging parents and their children. This section of the whitepaper creates a historical profile of the Sandwich Generation and uses findings from New York Life’s survey to illustrate the demographic changes as a result of the pandemic, as well as the financial, emotional and physical toll as a result of the coronavirus.
Pew Research Center1 conducted a similar demographic study of the Sandwich Generation in 2018, which found women made up about 60% of the Sandwich Generation. Our data points to a four-percentage-point increase in the gender divide of the group in that past two years, and that’s in addition to the large percentage of Millennials that now comprise this group. Stressors from the pandemic may have brought on this shift and, as a result of these changes, many new caregivers may need to step up to the plate to secure their long-term financial well-being.
The Sandwich Generation: Looking Ahead
Nearly half (48 percent) of all members of the Sandwich Generation expect to be in a caretaking position in some capacity for six or more years, yet one-in-five (22 percent) report they would need to adjust their financial strategies within the next 12 months.
COVID-19 has certainly been a stress on the Sandwich Generation, but key behaviors, like meeting with a financial advisor, have helped certain members of this group better weather the storm: the results of the survey indicate those who reported feeling prepared to provide six or more years of care with no adjustments were more likely to be working with a financial professional. This section explores how having a financial strategy helps boost confidence and results in better financial outcomes for members of the Sandwich Generation.
Go to the full report for a more in-depth look at the Sandwich Generation.
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