"Sandwich Generation" Feels Unprepared for Retirement

August 12, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Members of the "sandwich generation" are feeling a squeeze on their retirement savings.

The BMO Sandwich Generation Survey from Canadian investment firm BMO Nesbitt Burns finds 76% of the “sandwich generation” feel the stress of everyday living—such as working, taking care of family, paying household bills, and helping older relatives—is negatively impacting their ability to meet long-term financial goals. The “sandwich generation” are individuals ages 45 to 64 who are caring both for their aging parents and for their own children.

On average, the 800 Canadians surveyed indicated they need to save $818,000 to have their ideal retirement lifestyle, but they have only saved an average of $258,000, leaving them more than half a million short on their retirement savings goals.

“There’s a sense among those in the sandwich generation that they’re getting squeezed and are being forced to balance a plethora of financial priorities, from paying down their mortgage to saving for their child’s education to saving for retirement,” says Sylvain Brisebois, regional manager, BMO Nesbitt Burns, based in Toronto. “The stress that comes with caring for children and aging relatives, balancing a career, and generally keeping up with daily tasks can make it hard to focus on the future and saving for retirement.”

Brisebois notes that one way individuals in the sandwich generation can help manage stress and prioritize goals is to develop a financial plan. Having a blueprint for a financial strategy may include tracking or managing the household budget, savings or investments. He says that currently only 40% of those in the sandwich generation have such a plan in place.

“This group grew up generally doing things much on their own. Much of what they have accomplished—like getting an education, building their career, or buying their first house—was done without the help of others,” says Brisebois. “However, it’s clear they need assistance when planning and prioritizing finances for the future. A financial plan can take away from the stress of worrying and leave more time to relax and find balance in everyday life.”

The survey was conducted by Pollara between July 29 and July 31. More information on BMO Nesbitt Burns can be found at http://www.bmo.com/nesbittburns.