The Sandwich Generation

Half of Americans Aged 45 to 65 Currently Care for Their Children or Aging Relatives

Nearly all view retirement as a top priority, but have not thought about what their retirement will look like

CHICAGO, November 13, 2015 – A study issued today by BMO Harris Premier Services found 47 percent of Americans aged 45 to 65 are juggling the demands of caring for their children or aging relatives (i.e. parents, in-laws, grandparents, etc.). Ten percent currently care for both generations while 17 percent expect that they will have to care for the two generations at some point in the future.

According to the study, a quarter (26 percent) are concerned that caring for two generations will affect their ability to meet key financial goals (i.e. saving for retirement, paying down their mortgage, paying for their children’s education, etc.).

This demographic (aged 45 to 65) is known as the “Sandwich Generation” because they are more likely to be ‘sandwiched’ between the demands of caring for both their children and older relatives.

‘Two for One’ Caring

“As a result of longer life expectancies and the trend we’re seeing among couples of having children later in life, it’s possible many may find themselves in the unique position of caring for two generations at once,” said Mike Miroballi, President, BMO Harris Financial Advisors. “For those currently in the Sandwich Generation, caring for children and aging relatives can take a toll emotionally and financially and it’s not uncommon for them to prioritize the needs of others above their own.”

Mr. Miroballi added, “We also know that individuals who fall into the Sandwich Generation are not only often financially stretched but also extremely busy and time comes at a premium. These individuals can benefit from BMO Harris Premier Services, which provides a coordinated, comprehensive view of their financial picture.”

The BMO Harris Premier Services program provides BMO Harris clients with a personalized service to help them manage their finances and achieve their financial goals. Clients work with a BMO Harris Premier Banker and a BMO Harris Financial Advisor who can provide a complete, 360-degree view of their financial picture. The two dedicated financial professionals offer an integrated set of services that includes personal and business banking from BMO Harris Bank, as well as financial planning, investments*, and insurance offered by BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc.

Sandwiched and Struggling to Save for Retirement

The study also explored the retirement readiness of those in the Sandwich Generation and found the average age they plan to retire is 66. It also revealed that despite most (92 percent) viewing retirement as a top priority, 30 percent have not thought about what their retirement will look like and 43 percent still do not know when they will retire.

On the topic of retirement savings, the study found:

  • Americans aged 45 to 65 have saved an average of only $291,297 versus the $938,529 they expect to need.
  • Those in the Sandwich Generation who are closer to retirement age (aged 55 to 65) are still less than halfway (43 percent) towards their savings goal.
  • Just 16 percent are ‘very confident’ in their ability to afford their ideal retirement lifestyle.

“This demographic has already accomplished many things, from getting an education and building a career to buying a home. However, with their retirement savings they still have some ground to make up,” said Stuart Thompson, Head, Premier Banking Strategy & Segment Management, BMO Harris Bank. “Regardless of age, it’s never too late to seek the assistance of a financial professional who can help you to develop a strategy that includes a retirement savings component.”

Survey results cited in this report are from online interviews conducted by Pollara, with an online sample of 1,768 Americans between the ages of 45 and 65, conducted between January 16 and 21, 2015. As a guideline, a probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ±2.3 %, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error for sub-populations increases as the sample size decreases: Data has been weighted by region, gender, and age, based on the most recent Census figures, so that it is representative of all adult Americans in this age group.

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BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank’s commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are subject to bank and credit approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $672 billion in assets (as of July 31, 2015).
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