Money & Career
Getting Squeezed in the Middle Managing Midlife Money Demands
11/1/2020 1:00:00 PM

Squeezed in the Middle

Adults at mid-life often face two equally demanding financial needs: supporting teens and young adults, while providing financial assistance for health and long-term care expenses of aging parents. All this is taking place at a time when career stress is typically at its peak and when financial priorities should be paying down debt and saving for retirement. Throw in a pandemic and a couple of hurricanes, and "mid-life crisis” takes on a whole new meaning. 

"We see more and more of this financial squeeze as adults move through their 40s and 50s,” explains Jamie Schiro, Vice President and Westlake Market Manager for Lakeside Bank. "Midlife brings a unique set of financial challenges that require informed decisions to pave the way to financial stability for yourself and your family.” 

If you are feeling trapped in the middle of equally important financial obligations, it may comfort you to know you are not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly ten million adults between the ages of 41 and 59 find themselves "sandwiched” between financially dependent parents and children.  Nearly one-third provided financial assistance to a parent last year, and about half are supporting at least one young or adult child. 

"Most adults in their 40s and 50s feel financial pressure from family obligations,” says Schiro. "And while much of this is unavoidable and just part of being a responsible parent and adult child, it doesn’t mean these circumstances have to throw you completely off track of your own financial goals. The key is having a plan that will allow you to balance your family’s financial needs with your own financial security.” 

For example, many midlife adults are tempted to cut back on their personal savings and retirement investment to save for the earlier goal of funding their children’s college education. Schiro advises exploring other options before making this financial decision. "You aren’t doing your children any favors if you put them through school only to become financially dependent on them down the road. And keep in mind, in most cases you can easily get financial assistance for college expenses, but you’ll have a hard time getting a scholarship or student loan to fund your retirement. You are basically on your own. That’s why it’s so important to make retirement saving a priority. This isn’t something you should plan on taking care of after you take care of everything – and everyone – else.” 

And when it comes to making decisions about how to best provide any needed financial support for your parents, Schiro says the first step is to sit down with them and have an honest discussion about their finances. "This is difficult for many people to do, but you can’t know how much – if any – help they need, much less figure out how you can stretch your budget to assist them, without getting an accurate assessment of their financial situation.”

Schiro says it’s important to look at everything, including all sources of income and expenses, as well as assets and liabilities. Once you have an idea of their cash flow, budget and assets, you can help them explore their options, which may include cutting back on expenses, reviewing insurance coverage and deductibles, moving to a smaller home or liquidating certain investments. A trusted financial professional can help determine the best decisions for your parents’ future, based on their age, health and overall financial status. 

"No matter how you look at it, if you’re at midlife, you’ve likely got a lot on your financial plate,” says Schiro.  "And although your natural inclination may be to serve yourself last, doing so can have far-reaching financial implications that will impact you and your family for years to come.  Remember, it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure that you are able to take care of yourself and your family as you get older. Don’t lose focus on your future financial security as you cope with the demands of providing any needed financial support for your children and your parents. It may not be easy, but you have to keep your long-range financial goals in the mix.”

Learn more about financial services available at Lakeside Bank at

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