Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Archive for December 2008

Sandwich or Soufflé – the Baby Boomer Reality

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Which Way Now?

Which Way Now?

Caught between the needs of aging parents and children, baby boomers are fondly referred to as the “sandwich generation”.  Today, a more accurate reflection of our mood and challenges might make us the “soufflé generation.”


Not long ago it all seemed possible – puffed, airy, heady with the possibilities– retiring early, helping our children and parents, and taking those vacations and visits to the spa that  we “deserve.”  Advertisements told us we could have it all. We bought in and bought and bought and bought.  Our homes would fund our retirement; or an inheritance would fill in the savings gap, and the market was booming so were our 401(k) s.


Then September, 2009 came and our world changed.


Deflated, worried, wondering if we can take care of ourselves much less our children and aging parents.  Plans to retire early now put on hold – and wondering if we’ll ever retire – kidding about those Wal-Mart greeter jobs – but it’s a nervous laugh now.


Squeezed like a sandwich; deflated like a soufflé gone bad – whichever analogy you draw, the baby boomers—especially those of born between 1946 and 1956 – are rethinking work, recalculating retirement , wondering what happened and what to do next. 

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a while.  The time seems more right than ever.  The pressures on those of us in the middle will not lessen.  Our financial ability to help has been compromised.  Emotionally, it takes its toll.  Maybe we can help each other by sharing stories, tips and ideas for the future. 

Aging parents with investments caught by the economic downturn may be more pressured than ever – with less time and fewer options to make up savings lost. They may look to their adult children for help.  College funding challenges increase, adult children face challenges finding jobs or keeping jobs– just like us.  As baby boomers, our own retirement plans feel in disarray.

How do we make financial decisions?  What are the issues?  What are the decision points?  How do we handle the emotions from sadness to disappointment to hope about the future?  And on a more positive and upbeat note, what’s next, what new opportunities does it present.


As with all things — there will be for each of us a silver lining in this economic tsunami.  Maybe it’s finding more time with loved ones.  Rediscovering what’s important.  Getting back to basics.  It’s just sort of heard to see right now.



Written by Laura Rossman

December 7, 2008 at 11:44 am