By Millicent Hicks, Wealth Advisor, Scotia Wealth Management
If you are caring for growing children and aging parents while running your own business, you are not alone. Many business owners are trying to balance these personal and professional responsibilities. They are commonly described as the sandwich generation. The good news is there are many relatively easy ways to prepare yourself and your business for the responsibilities of the sandwich generation.
Start planning today
Talk with your aging parents about how they envision their golden years and how you as a family can make that dream a reality. It can save you and your parents a lot of stress and heartache in the long run if you make these decisions sooner rather than later. Starting today also ensures you are able to prepare adequately for your children’s future. For example, your parents may want to set up trusts for your children or utilize insurance strategies to protect their inheritance.
Financial planning is paramount. You need a plan that encompasses your parents, your children, your business, and yourself. Depending on your parents’ wishes and your family’s assets, there are seemingly endless considerations and possibilities. Seek qualified advice and support to help you make the right decisions for your family. For example, you will need to ensure your parents’ Power of Attorney forms are in place so that a trusted individual can make important decisions on their behalf if necessary. You should also ensure your family is protected if your parents require care or become ill. Insurance options for long-term care are available to help protect your family’s wealth, to ensure that as much of it as possible is passed on to the children.
Consider all your family’s resources
As a member of the sandwich generation, you may feel obligated to pay for everything your children and aging parents need. Discuss with your parent(s) the option of using their financial resources first, to avoid unnecessary early withdrawals from RRSPs or unintended tax consequences of spending non-registered money.
Likewise, as a member of the sandwich generation, you may need to encourage adult children to pay their own way. If they are going to school, ask them to apply for scholarships and grants. If they are still living at home, suggest they contribute to covering the family’s expenses or responsibilities with your aging parents in some way.
Care for yourself too
Caregivers cannot perform at their best when they are stressed out and overworked. Your children and parents need you to be physically and mentally healthy, and so does your business.
The Government of Canada provides a variety of supports for caregivers, including tax credits and compassionate care benefits, through Employment Insurance. Provincial and municipal governments also often have programs and services targeting caregivers. My clients are often surprised to learn their spouses may be eligible as well.
Being a part of the sandwich generation is not easy, but the years spent with your children and parents are a blessing. Make the most of them by taking care of yourself and your family’s wealth.
Millicent Hicks, Wealth Advisor,
Millicent holds the Certified Financial Planner® designation and draws on the expertise she has developed over her more than 15 years in the financial industry. She works with families of high net worth, business owners, women in business, widows, and successful professionals to help them achieve their financial visions with clarity and conviction. Being able to truly listen to what clients would like to achieve enables Millicent to successfully build the comprehensive financial plans that are involved in managing complex affairs and significant wealth. Millicent engages her clients by using language they can understand, being objective, and adding a dash of humour to keep things interesting!