Lots to do for the sandwich gen4 min read 10 Feb 2011, 12:32 AM IST
Lots to do for the sandwich gen
One of the nicest calls I answered on my weekly TV show recently was from a 20-something kid from the US who wanted to plan out her parent’s finances. Mum had retired, dad was going to soon and daughter wanted the best advice for her parents on cracking their retirement nest egg. As a proportion of calls and mails, I find a large chunk of callers worried about their parents’ future. Most of these are in their 20s, are not married and are very eager to give back to their parents in whatever way they can. What the well-intentioned 20-something kids find out when they hit their 40s is a little different. By now there are spouses, own kids and their own lives to lead, own retirements to fund and holidays to take. By their 50s they discover that it is no longer just money-linked issues that they need to deal with—it is ongoing care. A friend in his 50s caring for parents in their 80s talks of having more helpers in the house who take care of his ageing parents—both of whom need 24-hour care—than family. Another talks of the tough decision he has to soon make of either coming back to India, leaving a promising career, or convincing his reluctant parents to make the inter-continental, cultural shift. One road means a reworking of the nuclear family goals and aspirations, the other wrenches parents out from all that is familiar.