The open sandwich generation - today's grandparents - are increasingly concerned about the financial well being of their grandchildren. Learn more about the trend.
If sandwich generation describes baby boomers squeezed by the needs of both their children and parents, then senior citizens are the open sandwich generation.
A growing number of grandparents say they are worried about the financial security of their children or grandchildren, according to the latest quarterly study by Millionaire Corner, and a significant share are concerned with financing the education of their grandchildren.
And, a significant share of senior citizens are providing a safety net for their children and grandchildren, according to a study released this week by AARP, an advocacy group for Americans age 50 and older, which found that nearly 40 percent of U.S. grandparents are contributing to the everyday living expenses of their grandchildren.
“Grandparenting is about more than a sense of responsibility,” said Amy Goyer, an expert on multigenerational and family issues at AARP. “This survey reinforces that today’s grandparents contribute to the basic quality of their grandchildren’s lives. They are the safety net for American families, helping to pay for practical expenses and necessities.”
Even the most affluent investors worry about the financial wellbeing of future generations and are concerned about shifting of economic responsibilities in the wake of the recession, according to a first quarter 2012 study by Millionaire Corner.
Millionaire households rank “the financial situation of my children or grandchildren” as their top personal financial concern, in our first quarter report, which also finds that the share of Millionaires worried about the financial wellbeing of the next generations rose to 68 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from 57 percent for the same period last year. (Millionaires have a net worth of $1 million to $5 million, not including primary residence.)
Millionaires express more concern about their children and grandchildren than they do about their own financial situation, so unlike the sandwich generation, which is pulled in two directions, the open sandwich generation feels more of a one-way tug. As a result of these trends, the share of Millionaires who are financing the education of their grandchildren has increased from 30 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to 39 percent for the same period in 2012.
Ultra High Net Worth investors – those with $5 million to $25 million in investable assets are even more likely to be concerned with financing the education of their grandchildren, according to our study. Forty-five percent identify these costs as a personal financial concern, while two-thirds of high net worth investors say they are worried about the financial situation of their children or grandchildren, up from 57 percent last year.
According to the AARP study, more than half (53 percent) of grandparents contribute to education costs, while 37 percent help out with everyday living expenses and 23 percent help pay medical or dental costs. The study also shows that about 16 percent of this open sandwich generation provides daycare services for their grandchildren and 43 percent are primary caregivers.