Tales of the sandwich generation

18 Mar

Many baby boomers find themselves in a rather uncomfortable financial position. Just when they were planning to arrive at retirement—their finish line—many have stepped in to help a struggling parent, adult child, or both. While these situations are never ideal, smart boomers are coming up with some creative ways to make the most of the situation, for their families and their finances.

For example, one of my clients, at the time when many choose to downsize their home, decided to move into a larger house in need of renovations. How could this possibly make sense for them? The needs of this sandwich generation family made this not only a necessary move, but a smart one.

The couple, both in their 60s, was ready to have an aging parent with dementia move in with them. At the same time, the couple’s only son and his wife were ready to buy a house, but didn’t have the cash for a down payment. The solution? Three generations moved in together.

This necessitated buying a house that was both accessible and large enough for everyone’s needs. The baby boomers covered the down payment and renovation costs while their son and his wife pay the mortgage and utilities.

Over the longer term, once the grandparent passes away, the plan is for the parents to move into the in-law suite, which has a separate entrance and kitchen, and for the house to eventually pass to the kids.

It might not be your vision of the perfect retirement, and it certainly wouldn’t work for everyone, but it saves money for all involved, shares the burden of caring for the grandparent and allows the boomer couple to retire without having to worry about a mortgage. While the solution may seem unorthodox, it works for this family, and I hope you’ll use it to broaden your horizons when thinking about solutions for your retirement.


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