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Relieve the Squeeze: The Sandwich Generation

The sandwich generation consists of millions of working Americans who manage the financial demands of children, while also supporting their parents. They are financially “squeezed” between two generations. This research provides insights to help credit unions understand this population, and offers suggestions for the types of financial products and services to best support the sandwich generation.

Executive Summary

When starting a family, one imagines healthy children who grow up and become successful citizens with their own jobs, their own homes, and eventually, their own families. No one imagines that their adult children, unable to support themselves, will move back home. And certainly no one imagines that their own retired parents will be unable to pay their bills and will need to rely on financial help from their adult children.

Millions of middle-aged Americans are working for their children’s futures, and staying on top of day-to-day expenses when a new source of financial pressure appears: helping out mom and dad. In the United States, nearly half of adults aged 40–59 years have a parent aged 65 years or older and are either caring for a younger child or financially supporting a grown child (Pew Research Center 2013). The burden of supporting two generations at once can be financially draining; squeezed from above and below, this demographic is known as the sandwich generation.

By recognizing the unique needs of this group, credit unions have an opportunity to help their members navigate the difficulties of supporting both parents and children. At the same time, positioning to serve the sandwich generation can empower credit unions to attract new members who are seeking better solutions for their families.


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