“Working Sandwich Generation” Looks to Workplace for Support

Yesterday, October 19, 2010, MetLife released its 8th Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study, which strongly indicates that members of the working Sandwich Generation (those caring for an aging or disabled loved one while maintaining full-time employment and simultaneously caring for children) increasingly turn to the workplace as a source of assistance.  Long Term Care Planning

The study reveals that one in five full-time employees are caring for an older relative — that’s 20% of the workforce! — and nearly 75 percent of those employees also have children under the age of 18 at home. To quantify these results: Approximately 15% of the full-time workforce is officially a member of the “working sandwich generation.”

The MetLife study found that members of this unique population are facing some pretty serious financial concerns. Members of the working sandwich generation are more likely than their counterparts (in this case, full-time employees who have minor children but are not providing care for an aging relative) to:

  • Live paycheck to paycheck (64% vs. 42%)
  • Be concerned about affording a home (74% vs. 37%)
  • Worry about affording college (72% vs. 55%)
  • Have concerns about spending adequate time with their families (72% vs. 45%)

Sandra Timmerman, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, says that nearly two-thirds (64%) of members of the working sandwich generation expressed less concern over unanticipated health or financial concerns because of the benefits offered by their employers  — indicating a strong reliance on the support offered through workplace benefits.

But being a member of the working sandwich generation has its perks, including an increased financial savvy and awareness about long-term care planning. Just 5% of working sandwich generation respondents said they’d never consulted with an expert about their personal finances, compared to nearly 30% of full-time workers with children who aren’t serving double-duty as an elderly caregiver. Seventy percent of working sandwich generation respondents said they have concerns about their own long-term care needs in retirement, while just 40% of working parents reported the same concern.

Read the MetLife press release.

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