Sandwich generation is squeezed by care costs at both ends

The study found that more than two-thirds (67%) of respondents have initiated or intend to initiate conversations with their parents about their aging choices, while 58% have also had or plan to have discussions with their siblings about this topic.

Almost two-thirds (60%) admit to creating a plan to alleviate some of the financial pressures. For most Canadians, part of that plan is to provide caregiving to their aging parents — with 76% of respondents confessing that the time spent caregiving will impact their work.

Over half of the sandwich generation envision a future where they may be financially responsible for both their parents and children simultaneously. Additionally, 70% worry about the financial strain of supporting both their parents and their children but feel trapped as the costs associated with home-care from professional Personal Support Workers (PSWs) is beyond their budget. In a past HomeEquity Bank survey, only 12% of Canadians said they could afford the in-home care required to age in place.

While the impact caregiving has on obligations is certainly a consideration, this sandwich generation also faces the task of dividing their time between caring for their children and supporting their parents. These conflicting time commitments affect their ability to care for their children, enjoy personal time and can even influence decisions about where they live. The emotional strain from trying to balance the needs of two generations is a concern for almost two-thirds (61%) of Canadians.

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How to alleviate the financial pressures

While the pressures of tending to the needs of elders and children can provide a lot of stress for a caregiver, implementing and maintaining good money management skills can alleviate some of the financial strain. Here are some tools to consider:

Use a high-interest savings account to keep quick-access funds for surprise expenses

Putting away money for a rainy day is a great way to grow an emergency stash of cash, and what better way to do so than with a high-interest savings account (HISA), where favourable interest rates can allow your contributions to grow.

The EQ Personal Account by EQ Bank currently has an interest rate of 2.50%, and a 4% interest rate when you set up direct deposits: Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly into your account. Beyond making you money, you will pay no monthly fees and there’s no minimum balance to maintain. Account holders also have unlimited transactions and free electronic fund transfers, mobile cheque deposits and bill payments. Unlimited free Interac transfers are also included. Click here to set up an EQ Personal Account.

The KOHO Essential has become incredibly popular thanks to its advanced and user-friendly mobile app. This account comes aith a 3% interest rate, plus 1% cash back on select purchases, as well as the chance to earn up to 5% with KOHO's paid plans. It's like a chequing account with the perks of a credit card. The app connects with a pre-paid Visa card, so you can budget, spend and save at the same time. Once your account is set up, you can load it with an e-transfer. You can also add your paycheque to your KOHO Card. Sign up here for a KOHO Essential account.

Simplii Financial's HISA is renowned for its promotional rates, which includes a 5.9% interest rate on deposits up to $1M for the first five months (the offer ends on July 31, 2024). This is particularly appealing if you are looking for a place to park your money for a few months. To learn more about this offer and sign up for Simplii Financial's high-interest savings account.

Invest now, for the future

Investing is an ongoing process, which is perfect for those looking to accumulate wealth that will be needed in the future. It's a particularly good strategy if you expect finances to get tight as you care for family members both young and old. Getting started can be a daunting task, but there are online resources as well as ways to automate your options. For instance, you can start by using a robo-advisors. A popular choice is Wealthsimple's Robo-Advisor. This user-friendly investment tool helps you build wealth over time, and helps you buy offering exchange-trade funds (ETFs) that match your investment style and your risk tolerance. You can even use your account to open and fund a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), among other registered accounts. Sign up for a Wealthsimple Auto-Pilot account today and get $25 cashback when you transfer $500 into the account.

If you don't have a lot to invest or you're not even sure how to find the money to invest, consider using a flat-fee robo-advisor, like Moka. Designed for hassle-free investing, automating contributions makes Moka ideal for those seeking long-term growth without the need for active management. With a flat fee of just $15 monthly, this investment account lets you select your investment goals and risk tolerance before automatically investing and reinvesting for you. The flat-fee structure makes it more cost-effective compared to traditional auto-invest portfolios and this could translate into significant savings over time. Even better, the round-up service allows Moka to round up all purchases and use the excess to build your savings and investment portfolio. Sign up for a Moka account today.

Survey methodology

The HomeEquity Bank poll was conducted by Ipsos between March 28 and April 3, 2024. In total, 1,033 Canadians between 25 and 65, who have a relationship with an aging parent, were interviewed — with 388 qualifying as members of the sandwich generation: A subset of the population that also have children whom they care for. Survey results are stratified, to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The poll is accurate to within ± 3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 25 to 65 who have a relationship with an aging parent(s) been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population, and increases to ±6.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, among the Sandwich Generation.

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Nicholas completed his master's in journalism and communications at Western University. Since then, he's worked as a reporter at the Financial Post, Healthing.ca, Sustainable Biz Canada and more. Aside from reporting, he also has experience in web production, social media management, photography and video production. His work can also be found in the Toronto Star, Yahoo Finance Canada, Electric Autonomy Canada and Exclaim among others.

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