The Sandwich Generation: How To Navigate Through The Financial Challenges
With Malaysia officially considered an ageing population, more and more Malaysian youths are finding themselves stuck in the “sandwich” generation.
Additionally, given our unique culture of having multi-generational families living under one roof, the rise of the sandwich generation has brought about several challenges for young Malaysians.
But what exactly is a sandwich generation, what are the challenges that it presents and how do you avoid becoming trapped in this situation?
So read on for some helpful strategies you can take to navigate the financial challenges associated to this life passage.
What is the “sandwich” generation?
Now, as Malaysians, you probably know many people who are in this situation. You might even be in this situation yourself where you just started a family, but still need to take care of either your parents, your in-laws, or both in your own house.
You might think to yourself, “well, I have to take care of my parents, so it shouldn’t be an issue on top of my own family.”
While that is a noble way of thinking, there are challenges that come with taking care of three generations all at once!
Impact on mental health. People who are in this situation tend to be at higher risk for mental health issues due to stress as a caregiver and intergenerational conflict between family members.
Balancing work and family. A good work-life balance is already hard to do, but when you add taking care of your own family and elderly parents, it’s even harder. It might end up affecting all parts of your life negatively.
Affecting your personal life. Because you’re too busy taking care of everyone else, you end up putting your own life on hold, leading to burnout or the sense of being deprived.
Financial problems and pressures. Malaysia’s cost of living has increased significantly over the years and is expected to continue to rise. The financial burden of taking care of yourself as well as your spouse, children and parents can be overwhelming if you are not prepared.
Imagine this – all three generations will have their specific health needs – children have less developed immune systems and are more likely to catch an illness whilst older adults are also more prone to developing age-related diseases.
Unhealthy eating habits in all age groups may lead to a higher risk of chronic health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Combined with rising medical inflation means treating these health problems can become a huge financial burden for the sandwich generation.
Well, an easy solution would be to opt for the multigenerational critical illness protection plan by Sun Life Malaysia which protects both you and your family, with no medical underwriting or check-up required. This ensures that you and your loved ones, including parents, spouse and children are better prepared for the future.
According to Raymond Lew, Sun Life Malaysia CEO and President/Country Head, “Being a purpose-driven organisation, Sun Life Malaysia has a singular goal – that is to help Clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. Through this new multigenerational medical illness rider, we are providing Clients who are financially supporting their parents and children more options to meet their evolving healthcare needs without putting a dent in their pockets.”
How to be better prepared in this situation
Taking care of our parents and giving the best that we can to our children is something that we all strive for. And you can start by ensuring that everyone you love is covered by a takaful protection plan.
Other helpful tips:
- Be open about your financial situation
Talking about money among family members can be a sensitive topic. But, openly discussing your finances can help everyone set realistic expectations.
- Asking for help from others
Whether it’s from other family members or a professional caregiver, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you can’t cope with the burden of being a sandwich generation.
- Building up your retirement fund/plan
This can help you from passing your financial burdens to your children. If you have your own retirement savings, you don’t have to depend on your children in future so they can avoid being a sandwich generation too.
- Investing in takaful protection plans
It’s the best way to keep you and your family protected from any financial burden of treating unexpected medical conditions, especially critical illnesses. However, for you to get separate coverage for each family member will lead to higher costs.
Now, what if you can protect the entire family with just one plan?
A multigenerational critical illness plan for the sandwich generation
Check out the Prime Family Critical Care-i Plan by Sun Life Malaysia, a new critical illness rider that’s a first in the takaful industry, specifically addressing the needs of those in the sandwich generation.
Not only does it protect you, the person covered, but it also extends its coverage towards immediate family members including your parents, spouse and children.
Key benefits of Prime Family Critical Care-i:
- Admission benefit: Up to 100% of the sum covered will be payable if you are admitted to the hospital.
- Benign tumour coverage: 10% of the rider’s sum covered will be payable upon diagnosis of a benign tumour that requires surgery.
- Critical illness coverage: 100% of the sum covered will be payable for any of the 46 covered critical illnesses.
- Diabetes recovery benefits: 10% of the rider’s sum covered will be payable upon diagnosis of covered diabetic conditions.
- Extension of coverage to your family members without underwriting: 10% of the rider’s sum covered will be payable for each family member, up to a maximum of 6 members (i.e., 1 spouse, 2 parents, 3 children).