The following article from the New York Times sums it up. Daughters, more than sons, are helping out theirs parents and taking on more debt. Women are more likely than men to be the caretakers of parents and also help out their children at the same time-the ultimate sandwich generation.
What are you doing to help your parents and children?
Daughters of Boomers Giving More Financial Help to Parents, Study FindsBy ANN CARRNS
The number of women who say they provide financial support to their baby-boomer parents is increasing, according to research from Ameriprise Financial.
Two-thirds of boomers’ daughters say they are providing some sort of financial support to their parents, up from 48 percent in 2007, when the initial “Money Across Generations” survey was done. (Baby boomers are Americans born between 1946 and 1964.)
More daughters report helping to pay their parents’ utility bills, housing costs or long-term care costs. In addition, more daughters report helping with household tasks like cooking and cleaning, laundry and transportation. That sort of help may not have a direct financial impact, the study notes, but could cut into time that the daughters would otherwise have spent working.
Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise, speculated that the increase may be because the disproportionate impact of the recent recession on jobs traditionally held by men, resulting in “an increase in the number of women who are sole breadwinners, or earning more than their husbands or partners and taking on more of the financial burden.”
Another factor may be that the children of boomers — Generations X and Y — are saddled with college debt and a tough job market and are more likely to live with their parents. So it may be that when they say they are helping to pay for their parents’ mortgages or utilities, they are indeed doing so, but are also benefiting from the situation too.
“All of the generations are helping each other,” she said.
Boomers’ daughters are also more likely than their sons to worry that their parents won’t have enough money for a secure retirement (63 percent, compared with 47 percent for sons).
A majority of boomers sons’ also report providing support to their parents, but that proportion — 62 percent — is about the same as five years ago.
The national telephone survey was conducted for Ameriprise in November and December by research firm GfK Roper. The survey included 1,006 affluent baby boomers, 300 parents of baby boomers and 300 adult children of baby boomers. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for boomers, and six percentage points for their parents and children.
Meanwhile, three-fourths of female baby boomers say they’ve “adequately discussed” their parents’ current financial situation, compared with 64 percent of men. Women are also more likely to say they’ve talked to their parents about how they’d pay for long-term care needs (62 percent for women, compared with 49 percent for men).
Ms. de Baca said that women are very aware of the likelihood that they’ll outlive their spouses, so they may begin financial conversations because they know they will live longer and may be alone and have to support themselves financially.
Are you helping to support your boomer parents? Or, if you’re a boomer yourself, have you discussed your own parents’ financial situation with them?