U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 59 mins

Valley First: Financial Planning Importance Growing for "Sandwich Generation" Savers

PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 2, 2013) - An emerging demographic group dubbed the sandwich generation-those simultaneously caring for children and elderly relatives-are facing increasing financial pressures as they juggle careers, family commitments and personal well-being.

According to a new study*, 20 per cent of Canadian professionals are balancing childcare and caring for older family members while trying to further their careers and get ahead financially. The added personal and monetary responsibility can have very real short and long-term effects, says Valley First branch manager, Dan Turner.

"Growing multi-generational care costs can hinder financial plans and prevent even the best savers from getting ahead financially," says Turner. "Families caring for both children and older relatives have greater day-to-day expenses and more spent today means less to put away for tomorrow. Over time this can easily translate into reduced savings or retirement income in the future."

The study also revealed 20 per cent of employees who are caregivers have had to turn down a promotion because they were unable to take on additional responsibilities. A situation, Turner notes, that can have a long-term effect on earning potential.

Given the sandwich generation will continue to grow as the population ages and as Generation Xers delay starting families, Turner says it is important for people to be aware of additional family and financial responsibilities they may face.

"From paying down a mortgage, to child care costs, to caring for aging parents, to saving for their own retirement, it's clear the sandwich generation is under a lot of pressure," says Turner. "It can seem overwhelming."

Not surprisingly, figures from the Desjardins study also showed 40 per cent of survey respondents reported high levels of overload both at work and at home. According to Turner, having a solid financial plan in place can help prevent financial headaches from adding to the stress.

"Many financial institutions, including Valley First, will help put a free financial plan together, which can make a real difference in preparing for the future," says Turner. "People often associate wealth with high income. This is not true. Growing wealth comes from developing and sticking to a financial plan. It takes discipline, but knowledge and planning are the best remedies for preventing financial stress."

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. For more information on Valley First, visit www.valleyfirst.com.

Follow Valley First on Facebook (www.facebook.com/valleyfirst) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/valley_first).

* Full study results are available at: http://www.desjardinslifeinsurance.com/en/about-us/Documents/Conclusions_and_Implications-EN.pdf