CAREER + MONEY

WHAT IS SANDWICH GENERATION?

47% of adults aged 40-50 are a sandwich generation. Perhaps your parents might be one, but what is sandwich generation?

04.03.2022
BY MAXWELL SOETOMO
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Recession, covid-19, and the shifting demographics are intensifying the pressures on the so-called 'sandwich generation'-- those still responsible for both children and parents. 

The growing aging population and young adults struggling to achieve financial independence put the burden on middle-aged adults. Nearly half of adults in their 40 to 59 not only have a parent age 65 but also have either a young child or a grown child age 18 and above to support.

Here is what you need to know about 'sandwich generation'

What is sandwich generation?
The sandwich generation is members mostly middle-aged: 71 percent of this group is aged 40 to 59. An additional 19 percent are younger than 40 and 10 percent are age 60 or older. The key concept to this term is like the sandwich where you are in the middle clamped by two generations. As a result, you are responsible for both. 

The phenomenon was recognized in the late 20th century as lifespan and childbearing age increased. Presumably, life could be a bit more stressful for the sandwich generation. Having an aging parent while still supporting their own child presents certain challenges- caregiving, financial, and emotional support. 

Affluent adults, those with an annual household income of $100,000 (Rp 1,4 M) or more, are more likely to become sandwich generation than the less affluent adults. Among those with incomes $100,000 or more, 43 percent of them have a living parent age 65 or older and a dependant child. This compares to 25 percent of those making less than $100,000 and 17 percent making less than $30,000 (Rp 431 mil).

Married adults are usually more likely to be the members of sandwich generation than unmarried adults. 

Sandwich generation in Indonesia
Dorothy A. Miller, a professor, and practical director at the University of Kentucky, in his journal entitled "The 'sandwich' generation: adult children of aging" in 1981 described that adults in the sandwich generation feel greater pressure in life. 

It is reported that the number of sandwiched adults will increase in Indonesia. Although precise data of sandwich generation has not been calculated yet, the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) provided the data of senior citizens in 2017. 

Financial sources of an elderly's household are provided by a working family member. BPS recorded that 77,82 percent of a senior's household economy is supported by working middle-aged adults. The rest of 14,97 percent is based on external money transfers or goods, 6,46 percent from the pension funds, and 0,76 percent from investment.

According to financial planners, one of the factors that triggered the coming of the sandwich generation is parents who are lack of capability to save money like pension funds. For that reason, breaking the chain to being a sandwich generation could be done by simply making careful financial planning. 

Breaking the chain to become sandwiched does not necessarily mean cutting financial support to parents, but it is about not being a burden to other family members one day in the future. 

What can be done from now is to start organizing the target of the cash flow. For example, you can start by separating daily expenses and income that comes from the pension funds. The money from pension funds should be saved for future purposes. This way, when you become a parent, you can stand alone without overloading your adult child when they too have become a parent. 

#sandwich generation #millenials