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Bar graph showing that the percent of adults ages 40-59 who had a parent 65+ and were raising a minor child or supporting a grown child was 47 in 2012 and 45 in 2005. The percent who provided financial support to a parent 65+ and a child any age in the past year was 15 in 2012 and 12 in 2005.
The financial squeeze is a generational squeeze for many adults between the ages of 40 and 59, Pew reports. In that group, 47 percent have a parent aged 65 or older and are either raising a child under 18 or supporting a grown child, up from 45 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, in the past year, 15 percent of people in that group have provided financial support both to a parent aged 65 or older and to a child, whether a minor child they're raising or a grown child. That's up from 12 percent in 2005.

Going from 12 percent to 15 percent over seven years isn't a huge jump; it's the kind of number that could turn out to have been a blip from the recession. But if it's a trend that persists, it signals big trouble as the generations in a strong enough financial position to give help age out.

People are much more likely to say it's a responsibility to give financial help to aging parents who need it than to adult children who need it—yet people are more likely to be supporting their adult children than their aging parents:

Among those who have at least one living parent age 65 or older, roughly one-third (32%) say they have given their parent or parents financial support in the past year. [...]

Among adults ages 40 to 59 with at least one grown child, 73% say they have provided financial support in the past year. Among those ages 60 and older with a grown child, only about half (49%) say they have given that child financial support.

Why the disconnect between the responsibility people say they feel to their aging parents and their adult children and the levels at which they actually give money to parents and children? Quite possibly because the children are more likely to need the help. Lower-income people are more likely than higher-income people to be helping their aging parents and less likely than higher-income people to be helping their adult children, for instance, suggesting that when resources are strained, assistance does go to the people toward whom more responsibility is felt. Higher-income people, by contrast, are much more likely to be helping their grown kids. This isn't proof, but it's suggestive that, rather than being hypocrites who say they feel responsibility to their parents while actually helping their kids, middle-aged people are simply more likely to have kids than parents who need help.

That fits, too, with what we know about the direction of wages and the economy. Young adults are struggling to find work, let alone full-time work, still more full-time work with good pay and benefits. Not that the economy of recent years has been easy for everyone over 65, but many of them had the chance to get established before wages stagnated, or got their jobs during years when average working people still had a decent shot at a pension. That's a chance today's young adults haven't had and don't look likely to get, leaving them in a hole for years to come.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.


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Comment Preferences

  •  You know, I really am very (5+ / 0-)

    grateful for both Soc. Sec and Medicare.  As one of the long-term unemployed in their 50's, I have NO IDEA as to what I'm going to do when I reach "seniorhood" and I'm sure that I'm not alone. There's going to have to be some sort of "accomodation" for those of us who were destroyed in the Great Recession. What can we do?

    As many of us (in our 50's) have come to realize, the 401(k) was a scam. Just a scam. Some of us have so little in the damn account (that would be me) as to only last maybe a few months after we begin to draw down on it.  And - then what?  I'm grateful my mother has since passed on and there is NO WAY I could possibly help her. I can barely help myself.

    I also feel for the young who are leaving college only to go right back to the same bedroom they grew up in.  After everything was said and done, they've gone back to being teenagers in their parents' house. Great. Just great.

    •  Well said, Aquarius40: (0+ / 0-)
      There's going to have to be some sort of "accomodation" for those of us who were destroyed in the Great Recession. What can we do?
      I'm probably a decade ahead of you but in the same boat from hits that began in 2001.  Fortunately, the retirement funds were there to keep (barely) afloat.  Unfortunately, there is now no such funds left & no way to re-build them.

      Not everyone was lucky or fortunate enough to stay afloat.  In my most pessimistic state, I picture a nation of poverty stricken elders and youngsters in the now & in the future...

      What can we do indeed.

    •  Heh. Then there's those of us (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, BachFan

      in our 60s who must help both children and grandchildren now that our parents have passed on. S'okay, our parents were the last generation that actually DID do better than their parents at making good livings in this world. The echo of that is that the generations under us are doing less well than we are (and we're not doing that well).

      Daughter was chronically unemployed after suffering injury in her first post-college job, electrocution from light board wiring in a building that should have been condemned in the '30s, at a college where the Board had been embezzling millions over the past couple of decades. That caused epilepsy - try getting a well-paid job when that little detail gets added to the application. Now she works retail, lives with her community college prof boyfriend, and needs us to pay for her cell phone and car insurance so she can afford gas and food.

      We put two grandsons through community college, with not much help from Pell, thanks. Seems they don't allow consideration of grandparental income even if grandparents are sole means of support, and they don't buy it when a parent reports zero income. Even if it's demonstrably true. Now one has graduated, is still in his childhood bedroom because there are no jobs in southern Appalachia ("Chronically Depressed Region" even when the country's doing great) and he's no real prospects or means to get by someplace else. The other will graduate this spring, will probably do better with his chosen trade pathway. But he'll be here until that happens, and we'll no doubt have to fill in some income blanks for years more for all.

      We figure at the end of it - when we're 66 and finally get SS/Medicare and aren't supporting the world - we'll be okay. The homestead is paid for next April (~20 acres, infrastructure & improvements), we're trying hard to become energy self-sufficient (solar, micro-hydro, wind) while we can still qualify for loans. Those will be strong selling points when the time comes, we'll probably trip out on what we have sunk into it, then we plan to get a little place in town within walking distance of the bar and let someone younger and stronger do all the hard work to keep things going... §;o)

    •  I am one of the lucky 50 somethings (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bkamr, Naniboujou

      I managed to bust up my body and ruin my health so when I became unemployable (too educated was the usual killer) so I qualified for SSDI and MC after 4 years of applying.  Everyone can't have great luck like me, taking a dozen different pills each day just to stay on a semi-level keel but still getting my check every month so I don't have to worry like I did for 4 years

    •   Agree! My situation.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, Naniboujou

      is more about my parents. My kids vary a bit. All but one is making it,  but my ex has recently stepped in  as this one is making just above minimum on a Master's Degree. Living expenses need to be covered and I'm just glad my ex is able.
      My parents retired on a healthy monthly sum. It's still healthy by most standards but the increase in out of pocket medical is steadily making a larger dent every month. They have some of the best coverage and still, they pay. Every month, they are more and more anxious, and this infuriates me.
      I'm one who pretty much lost it all and am rebuilding. Retirement happens after I die, I decided.

      I do benefits for all religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality. Bob Hope

      by bluebuckeyewmn on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:25:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're very fortunate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that Mr. Scribe was in an occupation that's heavily unionized, and the local fought to ensure that the retirees were in an actual pension plan, not a 401(k). When he retired in 2011 (combination of wanting to get out before he got carried off the job feet first, and increasing responsibilities of helping his disabled mother after his dad's death), he qualified for full pension benefits since he'd put in close to 30 years behind the wheel of a transit bus. We're able to pay our rent, put food on the table and cover some luxuries (like cable and Internet -- need our sports fix!); if things lighten up this year on the family front he's going to try again for a part-time position as an usher for the local arena (and at least next season no NHL lockout to cope with). Biggest expense is health insurance for me, even though we get the group rate; supposedly once I hit 55 (in 2014) they'll start paying for my insurance as well but we just hope that benefit doesn't go bye-bye in the next contract negotiations.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 05:06:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rich Republican business leaders have an answer (0+ / 0-)

      10% off to seniors on the fourth monday of any month having less than 30 days in it. Leap years only.

      Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

      by arealniceguy on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:09:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome to the Gen-X reality (4+ / 0-)

    We've kind of known it would always be this way.  That the baby boomers would deeply strain medicare and social security and thus we're a bit cynical about actually having it be there when we arrive.

    We didn't expect the next generation to be so large though.  If we can just get them jobs, we'll be sitting pretty in 10-15 years with tons of money going into the earned benefit coffers.  Assuming the last gasp of the Boomers and their Randian enablers don't dismantle the programs.

    We've also watched the dismantling of a lot of other govenment services Boomers had as young people, but at least for us they were merely in process of being destroyed, rather than pretty much dead.   As an example, public schools were in decline when I was a kid, but except for those in the poorest districts they were still pretty good and nobody even considered homeschooling (although the religious or wealthy often still sent their kids to private schools).   Now it's like the public schools are the last resort, even in relatively affluent districts.

    In the same lines, while going to a state school wasn't as cheap as it was for my parents, it wasn't hideously expensive....the main cost was the opportunity cost from not working.  You could get out after 4 years with less than 10k out of pocket for school expenses.   Nowadays, the state schools cost as much as Caltech did when I went there, and without Caltech's generous financial aid packages.   Plus...while govt scholarships were in decline there still were some, and the student loans hadn't been privatized so the cost of paying even what you had to pay wasn't nearly as costly as it is now.

    Now we have a large generation of people who are starting life with either an education+significant debt or no education and relatively poor odds of landing a job in anything they're educated or trained to do.   And companies have abandoned on-the-job training, for the most part.

    •  greblos, truth. My offspring are Gen X. One (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kentucky DeanDemocrat

      still paying off a student loan-from 1997.  The highest educated genius one remains underemployed. Offspring has been assisted along the way by various Boomer gen family members (parents or in-laws)-happily I might add.

      My sorrow is immense.  It was not supposed to be this way.

    •  please don't blame current SS and MC recipients (5+ / 0-)

      for the current mess. That is a myth that GWB started so SS would be privatized and which the Catfood folks are trying to perpetuate so as to raise the age for SS eligibility and to reduce benefits.
      I paid in for 40 years into a program of social insurance.  It was not a retirement fund but a social contract whereby the government collected funds from me and my employer and held the funds against the day I would need a guarantee of a minimum level of living.  That day has arrived and I have fulfilled every jot and jottle of that contract and now legislators wish to renege on that contract and replace it with a shoddier one.  Bait and switch,

      Truth is SS is solvent until 2038 or so

      You can tell a pol is lying when he says SS reform is essential to deficit reduction.  The two are unrelated.  SS has its own funding while the deficit refers to general funding.  It is linked only because to link the two achieves austerity on two fronts whereby not linking them would require 2 battles instead of one

  •  A lot of us who cared for aging parents (4+ / 0-)

    are in their very late fifties or early sixties. My Dadlived to be 88, and I was 60 when he died.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:40:43 AM PST

    •  similar here; and then many of us who spent (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bkamr, barbwires, shaharazade, Naniboujou

      those middle years caring for elderly parents are now disabled ourselves or have a disabled spouse or both

    •  For many of us, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the care is less financial than it is physical/emotional.

      We're in the process of moving my mother-in-law to a different assisted living facility; she basically got kicked out of her first one because she needed more care than they were licensed to provide. (With her physical challenges, she needs 2 to 3 people to help her with things like transferring between bed and wheelchair or to help her use the bathroom.) The past few months, she's been in a nursing facility trying to recover from the stress of being told "you have to leave". Mr. Scribe has spent much of his time with her there, helping her go through her mail, running errands and the work has been more researching things on the computer, checking out facilities, handling paperwork, and such. We're fortunate we don't have kids (guess that makes us the "open-faced sandwich" generation), but the situation has put a strain on our marriage in general.

      If all goes well, she'll be in her new place next Friday (we moved in her furniture today; just have to unpack some boxes and try and get in a bookcase or two), and then maybe we can do some stuff for us.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 05:21:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear you, even in in two sided sandwich (0+ / 0-)

        My dad has been gone 5 years and with him his pension.  He did not have survivors benefits, those were taken away when Pan Am filed for bankruptcy.  He was collecting pensions from Eastern, National and Pan Am.   Fortunately, when he did retire, one of the plans he was in (National, I think, because it was taken over by Pan Am) offered him a lump sum of his old pension and he put it all in an IRA.  Never touched it in 20 years, except for the RMD, so that's what supports my mom, plus her SS check (that used to be his).  

        But she lives 300 miles away and is 86.  I drive up there every 6 weeks to take care of stuff around the house.  She won't sell the house and come live with me, and frequently begs me to quit my job and come live with her.  I can't do that, we can't both survive on the IRA and her SS check and I'm only 55, so nowhere close to getting my own retirement funds.  They froze my pension at work after I had been there 19 years.  I count myself lucky that I am a chicken about investing, so when they offered a 401(k) I basically put everything in the guaranteed savings account, back when rates were 6%.  I was putting my son through college and vet school (thank goodness for scholarships and Florida Prepaid - he got a free ride at UF and only racked up about $50k for vet school), so I was barely putting in $25 per payday, but at least I didn't lose it all, when the market crashed.  Now that he's out of school and working, after living with me for 2 years to cut down expenses so he could pay off the 2 school loans I co-signed on, I'm able to put the max in my 401(k) but I'm still a chicken, so it's only invested in guaranteed income stuff, stable value stuff that's low risk, but also low return.  

        My son and daughter in law live and work in Canada now (she's from there) and I hate that they are so far away and I can't plan a vacation to visit because I won't leave the state because of my mom.  We've looked at ALFs and some of them are awful.  The nice ones would wipe out her funds in 3 years, even if we sold her house.  She hates them, say they are full of sick people and she's not sick.  This is true, but I know she can't stay by herself forever.  I know she can't keep driving forever.  She's still relatively independent but I can see she needs help with things around the house, I don't need her throwing her back out and landing in the hospital because she insists on doing heavy housework that I know is too much for her. Dad left us a list of cleaning people, yard people, handy people, etc. but she hates to call people for help and spend money on stuff that dad used to do for free (home repairs, yard work, even scrubbing the bathtub).  

        I keep telling her, mom, he left this IRA for you, to use to take care of things that he used to do.  We argue all the time.  She fusses about the cable and phone bill and her 5Star Alert thing, so I've got them all on auto pay on my credit card.  She thinks I did a BOGO on the cable and 5Star and got us a deal because I merged our accounts (not true, but she stopped fussing and that helped MY stress levels).  I pay for her phone with the excuse that I must have Internet to be able to work when I am there.  She thinks my boss reimburses me.  

        When both my kids (son & DIL) were out of work, right after they bought their house, I had to start putting funds in my son's US account to cover the payments on his remaining student loan and their disability and life insurance policy premiums.  That went on for about 6 months until they both started working again (they're both vets and at least this time they were smart enough NOT to get jobs at the same place, in case something happened again).  Her dad, my ex and I all sent them funds to carry them over with house payments and whatnot - and now they have managed to re-build their savings so if something happens again, they have a year of mortgage payments put away.  They have no credit card debt, but they are very lucky that way.  She has a huge student loan and the rate in Canada is 7%.  My son's remaining loan is only 2.75% interest, so he's paying double and he insists she pay double, too, to get them paid down in less than the 20 years they were given.  

        But he worries about being far away from me and his grandmother, he's not close enough to help and he worries about both of us.  I worry about them and my mom and working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day is exhausting.  But it's the only way to keep up with my workload when I take those days off to go to my mom's...

        Financially, we are hanging in there and I know we are among the lucky ones.  I am rebuilding my own savings after using them to pay my son's bills for 6 months, so that I have at least a year's mortgage payments put aside, too.  My house was going to be paid off by the time I am 62 and that's been delayed, I think I'll be almost 64 now.  Can't send any extra in principal while I'm paying extra bills for mom.  Had to weigh the financial stress against the emotional stress and the emotional stress won.  

        Next step is to hire a cleaning lady for mom and tell her I got a bonus at work or something and that's my way of sharing it with her.  At least somebody will be there once a week and do the heavy work so I don't have to worry about her hurting herself.  And they can let me know if anything seems unusual - if she seems to be eating right and all that stuff.  Once a week is better than nothing.  And right now, I can do it, who knows what will happen if my work situation changes or my mom's health situation changes?  Trying to do what I can while I'm able and being thankful that we're able to handle things so far.  

        "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

        by Ricochet67 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:14:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mission is accomplished by the evil Rs as ours is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kentucky DeanDemocrat

    The generation that they targeted for maximum punishment.

    The econdmy my was destroyed to make it hard for us to live.

  •  Laura Clawson, very interesting piece. Thanks for (0+ / 0-)

    posting this.  Gives a birds eye view that should provoke further research/data (one hopes).

    Subjectively, those I know that are 5+years older than me (boomers) seem to have a lot more discretionary & retirement funds.  These friends over age 65 are indeed helping both kiddos & parents-some grandchildren as well.
    In some cases, housing both kiddos and frail parents.

    Those that I know of my age group (60-65) are all over the map but predominately just trying to stay the course.  Akin to hamsters on a wheel at times.  

    Odd what a 4-5 year age difference can make, at least in my observations.  Regardless, those diary stats are spooky & I doubt ever considered or planned for by anyone.

    •  Many 55-65 yr olds have lost their jobs since 2006 (6+ / 0-)

      What looked like 5-10 more years of saving for retirement turned into chronic unemployment when the crash came. Now many just hope to hold on until SS and Medicare kick in.
      There don't have resources available for their extended families.  

      Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

      by GwenM on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:07:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know. Spouse & I are amongst the hamsters on (3+ / 0-)

        a wheel:

        What looked like 5-10 more years of saving for retirement turned into chronic unemployment when the crash came. Now many just hope to hold on until SS and Medicare kick in.
        Those we know above that 55-65 age range did not take the same financial hit but are taking care of either parents or offspring or both.  Those five years made a difference re retirement and/or retirement savings-or so it appears.
        •  it makes a large difference as the last decade (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of savings are the ones for maximum saving as kids finish college and house is paid off so you can really sock away the dough.  instead, what savings there were lost 40% value because the bulk of your savings was when the market was over 10,000 and when you lost your job, you had to cash out at 7500

        •  It made a big difference in poensions versus 401ks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Most I know over 62 have pensions; under 62 not so much.

          Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

          by barbwires on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 04:09:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Trying to teach the boys to SAVE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    SAVE, SAVE SAVE,  is what we tell them.  Live beneath your means.  Pay cash or finance little.  Be able to afford what you have if you lose your job.

    Hubby and I bought our house in 1986.  We made sure we bought, not what we could "afford" on two salaries, but on one.  We made good money.  But, eventually I was able to quit, and stay home with the boys.

    Well, of course they grew up.  We had saved.  All went to a state university and there are no loans to worry about for either them or us.  Once they got Bachelors Degrees we were in the recession.  All opted to continue for Masters.  While we agreed to help with housing and other expenses if they wanted, they were on their own with school expenses.  They have their Masters.

    Before the final graduations, all had found jobs.  Granted we are in Texas and were less affected by the recession, but they are doing well.  So what do we tell them?  Save, save, save.

    Our young folks have to learn this is a different time  They will have no pensions.  And maybe no Social Security.  They have to live below their means and Save.

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 12:18:28 PM PST

    •  what your narrative obscures (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GwenM, Kentucky DeanDemocrat

      is that state school tuition was low when you and your kids went through, supported by taxpayer dollars; now they are high and rising. you worked when salaries were high enough to make ends meet, now they're losing ground to expenses. you're assuming that it's consumer frivolities that drives people into debt and not soaring rent, health insurance, medical expenses, and tuition.

      your narrative of moral success through thrift might have worked in another decade, but it's positively anachronistic now.

      •  Really. Last December was graduation. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Not a prior decade.

        I did say anything about a moral success.  

        University tuition cost us $10,000 per year, per student.  Texas has cut subsidies to the universities every year.  Tht's why the tuition was so high.  Before University, they took all their basic classes at the Junior College.

        Personally, I never got a degree.  Hubby paid for his a long time ago.  Worked while he went to school.  

        I know there a lot of people who don't have the money for frivolity.  Yet we watched as people we knew moved up from house to house, each with a larger mortgage.  They had pools that no one used but had upkeep.  Expensive vacation, etc.

        We've watched people roll the car loans into 30 year home equity loans.  Financing their lives.  Turning the past into the future.

        Suddenly they get to retirement age and are stuck still working.  Working to pay for the years gone by.

        Does that apply to everyone's situation?  Absolutely not.  But in my youth when I worked for crap money, I still made sure I put something away every paycheck.

        If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

        by tacklelady on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:32:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  RE: savings; my grandfather actually made money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      during the Great Depression.  Only saving money is a sucker's game he said.  Better to sell when people are buying and buy when people are selling.  For example, he bought an irrigation rig during one of our wettest years on record because he said it was not how much you saved but how much you had left after you bought what you needed.

      Therefore, you also don't necessarily buy a house when you save enough.  you buy a house when the market is low enough that you walk away from the deal with equity in excess of what you paid.  This is the hardest lesson to teach  

    •   (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      SUPERB advice!

      The wisdom of my forebears ... Two wise people will never agree. Man begins in dust and ends in dust — meanwhile it's good to drink some vodka. A man studies until he's seventy and dies a fool.

      by Not A Bot on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 04:06:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  According to this country's logic.... (5+ / 0-)

    I am unemployable. I have several disabilities that make it difficult to work a lot of jobs where I live.

    It's bad for many people, but it's even worse for folks with disabilities because of the fact that local governments have cut a lot of services we truly need, and of course those that are around can't work properly because they have too many cases and not enough workers.

    I also have two college degrees and no debt, but that's all a moot point when companies keep shipping programming jobs overseas just to save a buck.

    Anyone who thinks it's easier for people with disabilities to get and keep a job is grossly misinformed, and I speak from experience on that one.

    I write a series called 'My Life as an Aspie', documenting my experiences before and after my A.S. diagnosis as a way to help fellow Aspies and parents of Aspies and spread awareness. If I help just one person by doing this, then I've served a purpose.

    by Homer177 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 02:45:00 PM PST

  •  I'll tell you "why the disconnect" (3+ / 0-)

    between giving financial support to aging parents and taking some responsibility for their welfare:

    Social Security,  Medicare, defined-benefit pensions, personal savings

    Many of the Greatest Generation have all three.  My mom does.  So I don't have financial responsiblity for her.  But i do help her.  I organize at least some of  my life to meet her needs.  And that's as it should be.

    And my son helps her.

    And I support my son, until he finds a real job.

    And when my mother's health gives out, there will be more responsiblity.

    So I'm damn fortunate, but I'm part of that sandwich generation.  

    If/when you don't have that 4 legged stool for the again,  it's catastrophic.

    It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

    by sayitaintso on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 02:49:51 PM PST

  •  sandwich generation? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, shaharazade

    they're essentially labeling us as between generations that are relevant enough to have their own identity, which we don't have?

    similarly, i have a friend who works in child development, and he hates the terms "tween" or "tweener," because he thinks it reflects a neglect in focus on that age in psychology and child development, as if profound developments aren't happening.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 02:53:41 PM PST

    •  Sandwich generation is an old term - that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, bkamr, shaharazade, pedmom

      refers to the generation who is still raising children and starts to have parents who need significant assistance, with routine matters, not just urgent matters.  If you are still raising children, and your parents start to need ROUTINE help such as, accompanying them to healthcare visits, arranging services in their home, organizing their finances, making sure bills get paid, etc. then you are part of the sandwich generation.

      Sandwich generation is not anchored to a particular period year or decade(s) the way "boomer, gen-X, gen-Y, millenials are anchored in time.

      The problem for the current "sandwich generation" is that their own children may graduate from highschool, college or graduate school and face a long period with no income while they try to begin their adult lives; many are moving back in with mom and dad while they are looking.

      •  so it's not a belittling (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bkamr, LilithGardener, shaharazade

        of a particular historical generation, but of a family role. how about giving it a name reflective of its importance? like the provider generation, or the caregiving generation? words matter.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:31:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it never got a better name, because it's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laurence Lewis

          traditionally been women who were IN the sandwich.

          The elder parent could be a man or a woman.

          Women were the ones who left their jobs, or took a leave of absence when the folks needed significant or frequent help, so you couldn't call them the provider generation, except in an abstract sense, because Provider was reserved for the major bread winner.

          I agree that words matter.  It's especially grueling when the sandwiched person lives far away from the elder.  Then every trip requires time off from work, arrangements for someone close by to help with the kids, and loads of support from your partner, while you go off to take care of a pile of needs, that will leave you exhausted and overwhelmed when you get back. Repeated trips, the expenses of the trip itself can pile up quickly.

        •  Well every part (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pedmom, Laurence Lewis

          of an adult life seems to involve caring for those behind you and those coming up. So should a decent society we are after all just coming and going part of the ongoing cycle of life.  Generations always sandwich humans, the problem now seems to be that we're  trapped with no way to implement financially thread that binds us. It's well and good to say okay folks your on your own and it's a dog eat dog world where only profit, competition and wealth creation count but human life isn't like this never has been never will be.

          We are our sister's, brother's keeper, our mother's keeper, our child's keeper, our neighbors keeper that's how we humans roll generation to generation, civilization to civilization.  What we have now is a system that says a life span is nothing but a profit loss or gain and counts the beans that have no relation to human life generation to generation. We're all just fodder for the bean counters and a inhumane society that says your only purpose is to create wealth and when you can't calls you a profit loss or a criminal or a draq  that needs to be warehoused or shuffled into a for profit hell house.. be you young old or in the middle.        

    •  I agree that tween is meaningless (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis

      That period of development already has a name - puberty.

    •  There is always a current "sandwich generation" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis

      The point of the diary is that before Medicare and Social Security many in the sandwich generation typically had parents move in with them, while they still had kids in the house.

      The boomer's relative financial success is in some part because they did NOT have to accommodate their parents' cost of living and healthcare into their household budget for many years, decades in some cases.  That is part of the reason that the boomers were (as a group) able to put a lot more away in retirement savings and long term investments.

      •  the Greatest Generation managed to develop (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bkamr, LilithGardener

        the nuclear family where multi generational homes were no longer common.  That idea has collapsed as we now see generations coming together in a single home but now, instead of the younger generation being the financial engines of the family, it is the generation that is in between

        As far as being able to sock away more money, from 2007 to 2012, average family net worth dropped by 40% which wiped out any savings by Boomers from not having to accommodate  SS and MC payouts for decades

        •  some (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          believe multi-generational homes are healthier, anyway, if, of course, there is adequate space and financial means.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:34:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think we will be shifting back to versions of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurence Lewis

            this, where young people become reliable sources of part-time labor and barters of some kind, within the extended family/neighborhood unit.

            You know, where your neighbor's cousin needs a babysitter for the hours between 3 and 8 pm 5 days a week and for a months long commitment, part of the exchange is that the cousin's brother-in-law puts a new roof on your house, and cousin's sibling promises to represent your house in a few years, when you are finally ready to sell...  

            I'm rambling now, so I'll stop. But you get the idea. There is an enormous reservoir of smart people out there with time and physical energy on their hands, to spare.

        •  There are additional problems, e.g. savings (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barbwires, akmk, entlord, wsexson

          models were ALL based on an assumption that adults would have their highest earning power near the end of their careers, right before they retire some time after 62, and thus their highest savings capacity in the decade before they decide to retire.

          It ain't working out that way for a lot of people.

  •  It is really a triple decker or even more for many (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bkamr, barbwires

    Consider this: many of us are caring for one or more elderly parents who either don't quite qualify for nursing home but can't manage in assisted living, falling between the two stages.  For some that can be two parents or a parent and in law or 2 parents and in-laws, from 1-4 in number.
    Then for many of us, we have spouses whose health has failed.  They are also somewhere between institutionalization and independent living but require help.
    With the economy the way it is, kids also return to the nest, not able to make it otherwise.  Since many of us cannot work because our own health has failed while caring for the others in the family, that means the child, or children, frequently a single  mother or single moms have to work to bring some sort of income into the household.
    This means caring for any grandkids also falls to you as well because their mom needs all the hours possible.

    To recap, possible scenarios include your being disabled with a disabled spouse requiring extensive care plus 1-4 parents plus howsoever many children and their children
    It sounds unlikely but I can think of several local homes with similar situations where you have as many as ten people living in a house with only one or two of them able to work  

  •  It's the one-sided safety net. (0+ / 0-)

    We have a one-sided safety net in America. 65+ at least get medicare, social security, and perhaps some kind of retirement fund.

    Today's young people get a higher unemployment rate and outrageous student loan debt. Younger people need more help from family because politicians provide a stronger safety net for the generation that votes in higher numbers.

  •  Medicaid and VA Aid & Attendance spared us (0+ / 0-)

    from great financial strain caring for my wife's elderly parents. As their other children ignored the reality of their parents' rapidly dwindling finances, my wife and I aggressively pursued professional elder-care assistance. Her father qualified for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to offset some of the costly Alzheimer's facility expenses, and has since passed. Her mother qualified for Medicaid, which in combination with her small defined benefit pension, small SS, and Medicare, serve to maintain her with dignity in the Alzheimer's facility.

    Had it not been for these "safety net" programs, we'd have rapidly drained our own retirement savings. Her parents worked long and hard and were NOT part of Romney's 47% takers.

    We are fortunate in the success of our children, who require no financial assistance.

    Shame on Paul Ryan and those who wish to gut the critical safety net.

  •  Thank God I forgot to have kids. (0+ / 0-)

    Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

    by gardnerhill on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 04:24:12 PM PST

  •  My daughter has been................. (0+ / 0-)

    out of college going on three years now. She is now in the best job she has had since graduating. She is making between $10 and $12 an hour working for a non profit. She only earns the $12 figure when she is working one on one with a special needs child.

    She actually gets a $2/hour bonus because she has a BA Degree. However, for example, she only averaged 30 hours per week the last two weeks. She receives no benefits. Of course she is paying into social security and a small amount into a 401(k).

    I think, however the Non-profit she works for runs on a shoe-string. They promise her more hours every month or so but they never materialize.

    She wanted a degree in theatre and her Mom and I both encouraged her. If we had it to do over again we may have insisted on something more practical with theatre minor.  She would have had a better chance at a decent job…………….Maybe…….

    I am paying her cell phone bill and her mom has her covered for health insurance on her and her step-father’s policy at least until November. While she is fairly self-supporting; I really don’t think she realizes what an “adult” 40 hour a week job entails and why it is important.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:03:10 PM PST

  •  Pride? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned this, but in my experience a big reason you don't give money to people who need it is that they just won't take it. Your kid in his early 20s is much more likely to accept help than your parent in his 60s, because some parents just don't feel comfortable taking money from their children even if they desperately need it.

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