Being a member of the working sandwich generation — those who are holding down a full-time job while raising children and simultaneously serving as a caregiver for older relatives — comes with a steep price tag. New findings released from MetLife’s 8th Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study help quantify some of the pressures and costs and increasingly point to the workplace as a potential source for assistance.
About one in five full-time employees is a caregiver of an older relative and nearly three-quarters of these employees also have children under the age of 18.
“There is a great appetite for information and financial advice among members of the sandwich generation. Caregiving not only impacts one’s current lifestyle, but also one’s view of the future. For example, members of the sandwich generation have elevated concerns about their own long-term care needs”
The MetLife study found significant differences with regard to:
- Savings. 42% of employees with minor children, but without elder caregiving responsibilities say they live paycheck to paycheck, compared to 64% of members of the working sandwich generation.
- Home Ownership. 37% of working men and women with minor children are very concerned about being able to afford to buy a home, but that percentage doubles to 74% for those who are also caregivers.
- College Costs. 55% of workers with minor children are very concerned about affording college, but that percentage climbs to 72% for those who are also caregivers.
- Family Time. While 45% of working parents are very concerned about having more time to spend with their families, that percentage jumps to 72% for those who are simultaneously balancing parental and caregiving responsibilities.
“As the U.S. population ages, the percentage of employees who are caregivers will continue to grow, and they will be looking to employers for help and support. The MetLife study found that 64% of caregivers with children worry less about unexpected health and financial issues because of their workplace benefits, demonstrating that employers can provide a real life line,” says Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.
The study also indicated that members of the sandwich generation are more likely to actively seek financial advice. Only 5% of this demographic group say they don’t consult with anyone about their personal finances, compared to 30% of non-caregiving employees with children.
“There is a great appetite for information and financial advice among members of the sandwich generation. Caregiving not only impacts one’s current lifestyle, but also one’s view of the future. For example, members of the sandwich generation have elevated concerns about their own long-term care needs,” adds Timmermann.
Seven out of ten working caregivers with minor children reported that they are very concerned about their own long-term care needs in retirement, contrasted to four out of ten non-caregiving employees with children.
Source: MetLife, Inc.