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You and your family - are you part of the "sandwich generation"?

Ever heard of the "sandwich generation"? Most of our Michigan readers probably haven't, but apparently this is the term that some use to refer to the children of baby boomers, mostly because these are the people who will find themselves supporting both their parents as they age and require long-term care, and their own children as they set out to attend college.

As anyone can imagine, the costs associated with these separate but co-occurring life events can create quite a financial commitment. However, those who approach the likelihood of these situations with long term planning in mind are more likely to reduce the fiscal strain they can cause.

So what are the best techniques for fulfilling these critical obligations to parents and children, all while making sure that a retirement account is preserved and expanded? Probably the most crucial aspect is to know that situation is coming, and plan for it in advance.

With proper advanced planning, Michigan residents can ensure that the possible medical expenses or long-term nursing home care their parents might need is securely funded, and at the same time protect assets to make sure their children's education savings is untouched. By developing a comprehensive estate plan, to include the requisite trusts and powers of attorney, anyone is able to set out a plan that will ensure financial stability and growth as life's eventualities play out. Further, encouraging elderly parents to do the same will only help ease the fiscal pressure of these obligations. Those Michigan residents who are able to incorporate Medicare into their long-term care plans will be doing their relatives a favor by addressing potential long-term nursing home care needs in their respective estate plans.

Source: Reuters, "How the sandwich generation can avoid getting squeezed," Lou Carlozo, July 6, 2012

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