Baby Boomer Parents Feel the Squeeze

sandwich generation

"Me, me, me" may have been the assumed mantra of their generation, however baby boomers are a lot more giving than once believed, particularly when it comes to family. Squeezed between obligations to the families they created and their families of origin, baby boomers are feeling the pinch of caring for both.

According to a new survey from Brightworks Partners for Putnam Investments, baby boomers are sacrificing for their parents as well as their adult children, forcing them to work well after retirement years. According to the survey of 5,400 adults, baby boomers are quite generous when supporting their families. About 20 percent of workers age 45 and older financially support a parent.

An earlier Putnam survey showed that 40 percent believe they have an obligation to help their elderly parents with day-to-day assistance, and 20 percent say that assistance should include financial support. In addition, 42 percent of those who are supporting their parents said that they will work for pay during their "retirement." Another 26 percent plan to delay their retirement in order to provide this support. At the same time, about 33 percent of the same cohort with a grown child older than 25 pay rent or provide housing for that child. On average, these workers are providing $2,500 of financial support per year to their adult children.

"Boomers will take care of their elderly parents and they'll take their kid back, too," said Beth Segers, the managing director of marketing planning at Putnam Investments. "They're telling us they'll take care of their families first."

Last year's survey showed that 29 percent of retirees had returned to the job market. This year's survey showed a jump, with 35 percent of retirees opting to go back to work. A previous Putnam study showed that retirement only lasted about one and a half years for seven million American senior citizens who have now gone back to work. In this study, two-thirds of respondents returned to the workforce because they "wanted to," but the remaining one-third went back out of economic necessity.

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

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