Financial Tips For The Sandwich Generation

Financial Advice


By: FCU Team

You may have heard of something called “the Sandwich Generation.” This trendy term doesn’t refer to a group of people who like ice cream sandwiches or trips to Subway. It’s the group of people “sandwiched” in the middle of their aging parents and grown-up children.

If you’re somewhere between the ages of 40 and 60, you might fall within this group, and could be struggling trying to keep up as a result.

Advice for people with older parents and children, trying to take care of both.

Having elderly parents incurs its own unique set of expenses. The same is true for having kids in college, where you might still be covering the majority of their finances. It can all add up pretty quickly if you’re taking care of your kids and your parents in addition to your own cost of living.  

If you are like millions of Americans who face a similar situation, here are some ways you can responsibly take care of your parents and children without breaking the bank.

Talk With Your Parents and Siblings

We all want to take care of our parents, especially after the sacrifices they made to take care of us. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. If you haven’t already talked with other members of your family about how to handle costs, it’s a conversation which could already be overdue. The responsibility of taking care of a parent is one that falls on the shoulders of the entire family. If one sibling is covering a greater share, or another is not fulfilling their end, they are not just hurting their parents but their entire family.

Another difficult but important conversation to have is about plans for the future, one where your parents will no longer be around. Who has the power of attorney? What about estate responsibilities? What about pension, life insurance, and home equity? Have a discussion with your parents about their finances and create a plan for when they won’t be around. Obviously, no one wants to think about their parents’ passing, but it’s an inevitable reality. It’s better to be prepared for when it does eventually arrive, rather than hastily settling matters after the fact.

Claim Your Parents on Your Taxes

You might already have your kids claimed on your taxes, but did you know you can claim your parents as well? When you’re financially responsible for your parents needs, such as health care or basic necessities, they qualify as dependents and can be used to earn yourself a tax break.

If you pay for a nurse or health professional who assists your parents, you can qualify for a Dependent Care Credit. The Dependent Care Credit can also be applied to children under 13 and covers between 20% and 35% of up to $3,000 of childcare and related expenses.

Take Out a Home Equity Loan

How much equity do you have accrued in your home? If you’ve lived in the same house for a while and paid down most or some of the mortgage, chances are that you have a good deal of equity stored up. Equity is the positive difference between the value of your home and the remaining balance on your mortgage. While many people use Home Equity loans and lines of credit (HELOC) for home renovation, others use them as a way to bolster their budget by turning their equity into real money they can actually use.

Home equity products can come in handy if you have extra expenses taking care of elderly parents. You can use a HELOC as a way to draw money and pay it down as you use it. Whenever new expenses arise, your equity can be used as a way to pay for them without having to deduct from your savings. Debt from HELOCs are paid back monthly, but a monthly payment may be more affordable than going into credit card debt, which typically carries a larger interest rate.

Apply for Student Aid

If your child is about to start college, or perhaps already enrolled, you might want to consider the number of financial aid options. Student loans aren’t a solution for everyone, but for people who have limited options, a student loan can be the perfect way to give your child a college education while preserving your savings and retirement.

Additionally, financial aid is not limited to student loans. Thousands of scholarships and grants are available to students of all backgrounds, meaning there are ways to cover your children’s education that they will not need to pay back later. Check out this list of scholarships to see what your kids might  qualify for. Plenty of organizations exist for different ethnicities, social groups, essay contests, and more. Florida Credit Union even offers scholarships to both graduating high school and current college students.


It’s important to remember that your own finances cannot be neglected to take care of others. If you are sacrificing to the point that it is negatively affecting your own financial well being, and draining your retirement fund and savings, you are giving up too much. You still have to be concerned about the possible issues that could arise in your personal life, such as potential accidents, injuries, and sickness.

Whatever situation may arise, Florida Credit Union is here to help. For more information on ways you can infuse more cash into your budget, take a look at this blog article on what type of credit options are best for you, and this article on how to make the most of your IRA.