Are you part of the “Sandwich Generation”?

And by “sandwich” we’re not referring to the moms and the dads preparing lunch boxes for their kids.

The Sandwich Generation is typically those of us in our mid-thirties to mid-fifties who look after our own kids while also providing financial assistance for our retired or unemployed parents. If this describes you, you are not alone. According to the 2019 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor, 34% of people in the study said they are part of the Sandwich Generation.

How do you balance your budget when both sides of the bread need to be buttered?

Getting the right balance between managing your family expenses, supporting your parents while saving and investing for family goals can require careful planning. Setting up a financial plan now helps you to manage this later in life.

Start with a careful and collaborative approach which takes a generational view of the whole family’s needs into account. We recommend the following tips to avoid compromising your own financial goals:

  • Communication is key

Talking about money with your parents may be a sensitive issue, but you need to gain some insight into their financial situation so that you know what assistance they may need. Then discuss what you can afford to contribute. Failing to talk about money will leave room for assumptions.

  • Turn hobbies into a profit

If your parents are still in good health, they can generate cash from their hobbies. There is a budding trend for conscious living and a market for locally made artisanal food, clothing and furniture. Your mom’s jams could fly off her kitchen counter and dad can restore furniture in the comfort of his garage, turning the hobbies they love into money that they can enjoy.

  • Include the kids

Be open with your children about what you can afford right now in terms of monthly expenses and how they can help. For example, if they are of the right age, enlist their help with chores instead of paying someone for the upkeep of your home.

We understand how challenging it is to balance your family budget when you support your parents as well. Speak to an Old Mutual financial adviser who can help you prioritise expenditure and create a savings programme for your own future financial security.


Old Mutual Life Assurance Company (SA) Limited is a licensed FSP and Life Insurer