Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boomers sandwiched between parents and the kids

If you're a baby boomer in Canada today, chances are you could be feeling a bit like a piece of meat or chopped egg, sandwiched between dual responsibilities that are consuming a lot of your energy, time and money.

Two recent polls by Investors Group confirm what many have known for a while - that a lot of Canadian boomers are either taking care of aging parents or children who are still establishing their lives, or both.

There are about 8.6 million boomers in Canada - those people born between 1946 and 1965 who now range in age from 41 to 60. About 69 per cent of boomers still have at least one living parent or parent-in-law and 35 per cent are providing an average of $5,976 and 2,184 hours a year in care to an aging parent. Roughly 60 per cent of boomers are still providing about $3,600 a year in financial support to their children, and ten per cent of boomers who are parents also are providing assistance to their parents.

"Taking care of your parents is nothing new, but we are definitely seeing its effect on boomers' resources as they approach retirement," says Jane Olshewski, Manager of Financial Life Planning at Investors Group. "With adult children taking longer to become self sufficient and aging parents living longer, today's boomers are headed for the perfect generational storm."

While some care-giving boomers are spending an average of nearly $6,000 a year on their parents, financial support is only one aspect of care that boomers are providing. Other include everyday activities such as companionship, transportation to social events, home maintenance and household chores, banking and investment or financial decision-making activities, and ensuring their health care needs are met.

On the other side, 40 per cent of boomers are still paying for their children's post-secondary education. Seventy per cent of boomers have children 19 or older still living at home and burn up mileage on the family vehicle helping them, and twenty per cent of boomers have an adult child living at home who makes no contributions to the household.

All this responsibility can add to up to lots of money, time and, in some cases, stress.

Oddly, only nine per cent of boomer caregivers said their financial commitment to their parents was a source of stress. Nearly half actually said it makes them feel good to provide this support and makes them feel like they are repaying their parents for the time and effort they put into their upbringing.

Instead, the stress was created more by the demands placed on the caregiver's time and emotional resources.

Sixty-two per cent of caregivers believe that their parents expect this type of assistance. Slightly more than half say their parents' emotional demands are a source of stress and 40 per cent say demands on their time are a source of stress.

"Boomers don't mind making these sacrifices, but many people may not be prepared for the volume or the emotional weight of these responsibilities, says Olshewski.”It's important to try for a sense of balance so that you're not sacrificing your own priorities in the long term."

John Scholl B. Mathematics, CGA,
Consultant - Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
Wealth Management & Financial Planning
Phone: (905) 450-2891 X529 Toll Free: 1 (866) 799-2223 x529 Cell (416) 731-3660

David Pylyp The issues of Elder Care are very near to my heart. There are many resources available to you, starting with the Let's ask a few questions dialog available here or simply make use of this link http://Bit.Ly/AgingParents

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