Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Archive for July 2010

What Does 70 Look Like?

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Facts on Turning 70

There’s a great article in the NY Times on what it means to be in your 70s.  What should you look like?  What should you do?  What are society’s expectations?  After all average life expectancy is 78 years old. 

 Ringo turned 70.  Other celebrities in the 70+ club are Chuck Norris, Al Pacino, Alex Trebeck and Raquel Welch.  

Funny, it wasn’t that long ago when turning 50 was the watershed birthday.  Seems so young now! 

The 70s are interesting because it has traditionally been seen as a time of slowing down.  Yet more people are working into their 70s. Or staying active travelling, volunteering and socializing. 

At the same time, we can all think of someone in their 70s who suffers whose life is a bit different because of health or financial limitations. 

 It’s Interesting food for thought whether you’re planning your own later years or helping family or friends with theirs.  

 My take away:  Money matters—but health matters more. 

 Second take-away: Expectations of what’s right at 70 should be your own.  Good financial planning gives you options.

 Third take away:  Last quote in the article about being 90! 

Written by Laura Rossman

July 13, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Baby Boomers: Leave Your Kids Alone

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 A 24-year-old turning down a $40,000 job for fear it will short-circuit his future.  Really?  That’s the story on the front page of the NYTimes.  It’s been bugging me ever since I read it. 

Here’s why. 

* We all make choices about jobs.  Don’t understand his, especially in this market, but you gotta do what you gotta do. He will learn.  But let’s not paint a whole generation of young people with the same brush.  I think Generation Y is pretty savvy and display some of the same attitudes and values about work and money as their grandparents – not their baby boomer parents. 

* What are Mom and Dad thinking? I’m big on letting young adults find their own path and make their own decisions.  But supporting them fully financially – so they have no incentive to move forward – doesn’t help them – or their parents.  Many Baby boomers seem to be excelling at trying to live their children’s lives.  Let him make his choice,  But also let him live with the financial ramifications of that decision.

 * The article headline – American Dream is Elusive for a New Generation.  Every bit of research I’ve seen on Generation Y and the future of work and retirement says that expectations are different.  This is a generation that knows that they will have many different jobs and probably careers.  Traditional career ladders don’t exist.  You move up, across, down, up – whichever way takes you to the next opportunity. Theirs is a different dream.

 I wish Scott Nicholson well in figuring out his career path.  At the same time I hope that his baby boomer parents start letting him feel the financial consequences of his decisions.  

 We may think that by providing full  financial support to our adult children we’re helping them.  We’re not.

Written by Laura Rossman

July 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Less Help from Employers with Retirement and Eldercare

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 Retirement planning, investment advice, elder care services – just three benefits that employers are cutting back on at just the time when more of us need them.

 It is a sign of the times…and economic reality.  Benefits increase costs and employers have just been through rounds of cost cutting. While cutting benefits has allowed more to keep their jobs, it has shifted where we look to for assistance.   

You are on your own more than ever.

A new survey from SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) says:  

  • Companies offering defined benefit (pensions) are down to 27%; 
  • On the other hand, companies offering defined contribution (401(k) plans is up to 92%; 39% offer retirement planning service (compared to 52% in 2006); 
  • 40% of companies offer individual investment advice (down from 48% in 2006); and 
  • 11% offer elder care referral services (down from 26% in 2006). 

For many baby boomers, the employer has been the source of assistance and resources on planning for retirement and family services –whether it’s childcare or eldercare.  Not anymore.  And while some of these benefits may come back, when economic conditions become more stable, it may not be in enough time to help. 

But, the good news is that there are resources available to help.  And there are services available if you have the money and willingness to pay for assistance.  Here are some suggestions: 

  • Check your 401(k) plan website.  There are usually very helpful tools to help you not only with investments but with overall financial planning. 
  • The government website MyMoney.gov is a great resource for all types of financial information  
  • Eldercare.gov can lead you to local elder care resources 
  •  For low-income seniors, Benefitscheckup.org from NCOA  can help identify what government provided or subsidized programs may be available. 
  • Health insurance company Humana just launched a subscription based caregiving support programs PointsofCaregiving.com that provides access to information and services.
  •  A geriatric care manager can be a life saver if you are struggling with what services you need and how to get them.  This association can help you find local resources.

If you are lucky enough to still have these benefits available through your employer, make use of them!  If you don’t, there are plenty of free and for a fee resources available. Family and friends can be good resources.  And, just make sure if you hire someone, you check out their credentials carefully.