The pressures of caring for older parents and children are pulling the middle generation, or the “sandwich” population, in different directions. In Asia, where care for the elderly is deeply entrenched, financial forces raise uncomfortable questions.
A study of Hong Kong and Singaporeans who are ‘sandwiched’ between competing demands for child and elderly support finds 70% think offspring shouldn’t have to support parents later in life if they have not prepared sufficiently for retirement.
The findings, from a survey published by St James’s Place Asia, shed light on how younger generations have different views on the traditional responsibilities of parents in old age. Asia has traditionally had a strong pro-savings culture – arguably much more so than in the modern West.
Entitled A Generation Under Pressure: The Asian Sandwich Classthe study of 1,021 members of the sandwich generations in Singapore (520) and Hong Kong (501).
Pressures to support parents and children of the Sandwich Generation persist in Singapore and Hong Kong, with 64% believing it is their duty to financially support their parents as needed, despite for 30% of them, this only applies to critical and urgent cases. elements.
Although caring for parents is a top priority, around two-thirds (64%) of Singaporeans feel that providing financial support to their parents hinders their own financial achievements; the figure is 58% for Hong Kong. In both markets, nearly two-thirds (65%) also believe it reduces their ability to save for retirement and the future they hope for their children.
In fact, more than half (57%) believe their parents retired too soon, and 55% are frustrated with the financial support they now have to provide.
“Caring for and caring for elders is a highly valued virtue around the world, but especially so in many Asian societies like Singapore. Part of the difficulty in tackling the retirement of elderly parents is figuring out how much they need now given inflation and rising medical costs,” said Gary Harvey, Managing Director of SJP Singapore. “If you add this to the worries of financially supporting young children and navigating continuing economic uncertainties, the need for this generation to effectively balance these priorities and plan for their future is more important than ever.”
More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents said investing in their children’s future puts pressure on other aspects of their financial planning. Three in four (75%) worry that their children need and demand more financial support than they can provide in the future.
The study shows opposing forces at work: 67% believe that their children’s financial needs should come before those of their parents, but 74% also fear supporting children too much financially and spoiling them.