People in their 50s urged to act now to beat the squeeze
Those aged 45-60 are becoming the "Sandwich Generation" – caught supporting and caring for both their children and their parents – research released today confirms. 45% currently support another family member financially, and almost a third (28%) offer care support, leaving 51% concerned about their own retirement. While the burden can be heavy, there are simple steps that can provide security, for those in the sandwich and for their families, advises Saga Legal Services.
"The Sandwich Generation are not only concerned for their own retirement, but for the livelihoods of their dependants as well," says Emma Myers Head of Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning for Saga Legal Services. "Regardless of what's in your savings account or pension pot, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family; Wills and lasting power of attorneys are both great examples."
Currently just 27% of people aged 45-60 think of a Will as a future planning tool, and even fewer (9%) believe the same for lasting power of attorney. Without a Will, an estate will be distributed according to the specific rules of intestacy and that may mean certain dependents are excluded. Although Wills are inexpensive and usually straightforward, nearly 8million over 50s do not have one. This leaves countless families at risk of confusion and potential disputes, as well as those who need help not being provided for. "A Will really is the only way for your estate to be distributed in the way and proportion you want," Myers adds.
The Sandwich Generation is urged to consider an LPA not just for themselves, but for their parents too. "The older you are the more conscious you should be of conditions such as dementia, but the truth is that a lasting power of attorney is appropriate for most adults," adds Myers. "Anyone that has tried to gain control of a person's affairs without an LPA will tell you how problematic that can be, yet only a fraction of people have one even though it's usually too late to get one if you already need it."
Overall, just 7% of people in the sandwich generation stated they were "very well prepared for their financial future", while 37% admitted they are "not very well prepared" or "not prepared at all". To advise people on the importance of planning ahead for retirement, Saga Legal Services has released the Best Laid Plans Guide, which contains easy-to-digest and practical information on the steps you can take to do so.
"The important thing to remember," concludes Myers, "Is that it is never too late or too early to start planning for your future. Whether that's reviewing your pension, drawing up a Will, or making a lasting power of attorney for you or your parents, there are immediate steps you can take towards long-term stability."