The Big Squeeze
The Big Squeeze
How to Care for Your Family Without Sacrificing Yourself
Posted on January 10, 2017
Generation Xers now are the embodiment of a “Sandwich Generation” as they are being squeezed by demands from above (their parents) and below (their kids), even as they try to secure their own financial future—all with resources that often feel stretched thin.
Consider the Catch-22 many couples in this age group now face. In order to afford the high cost of raising children, both spouses often have full-time careers. But if they put in all those hours, they will have to hire someone to take care of the kids, pushing their expenses even higher. Here are suggestions for stretching your dollars.
If your employer offers a dependent-care flexible savings arrangement (FSA), take advantage of it. Currently you can legally contribute as much as $5,000 per year ($2,500 for married couples filing separately) to an FSA. Your contribution will not count as taxable income. The money in an FSA can be used for all eligible expenses, which may include day care, nannies or babysitters.
You may be eligible for the child- and dependent-care credit on your federal income tax return to offset qualified child- and dependent-care expenses. You can generally claim a maximum of $3,000 in expenses paid in a year for the care of one qualified individual (up to $6,000 for two or more) so that you can work or look for work. However, the amount you claim must be reduced by the amount your employer provides for any dependent care you deduct or exclude from your income.
Meanwhile, aging parents also put the squeeze on Gen Xers. In an age of geographic mobility and crunched schedules, they may find it impossible to provide in-person attention to an aging parent. Or if one sibling lives nearby, it may all fall on that person.
A growing field of specialists known as geriatric-care managers, can help stretched families handle the burdens of eldercare. More than just companions, they can help pay bills, manage medical appointments and monitor parents’ safety and security. Look for a licensed professional with strong references who is accredited by an organization such as the Aging Life Care Association (aginglifecare.org).
Technology is helping scattered families stay closer on-line. This is especially true when a health issue is involved. On the nonprofit website Caring Bridge (caringbridge.org), families can set up a private place online to share information among themselves and caregivers about a family member’s well-being.
As longevity increases one constant is the need for the generation currently in the middle to see to its own needs—whether that means looking after their long-term financial future or simply staying in good physical shape and finding time for recreation and fun. It’s only when we are feeling rested, focused and in control of our own lives that we can plan for the future and care for others.
For more information, contact The Menashe Morley Group in the Rancho Santa Fe office 858-381-8113. The Menashe Morley Group, serving the community for over 30 years: David Menashe is a Senior Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor, Bruce Morley CRPC is a First Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor and John Naviaux CPWA is a Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith. Neither Merrill Lynch nor any of its affiliates or financial advisors provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.Merrill Lynch makes available products and services offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S) and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation. Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured, Are Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. Equity securities are subject to stock market fluctuations that occur in response to economic and business developments. © 2016 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. ARBL5W8V
Photo Caption: Menashe Morley Group
Photo Credit: Photo by Jennifer Nelson