Networking up the Family Tree: Helping the Sandwich Generation Can Help Your Practice Thrive

By Laura McCarron via

As you help your clients plan for retirement, there are multiple challenges that can threaten their ability to reach their financial goals. The expense of raising children certainly ranks near the top, but when caring for aging parents is added to the mix, clients who are juggling the responsibilities of careers, college-bound teenagers, and parents in their 70s and 80s can feel like they’re bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders. It’s no wonder they’re called the “sandwich generation.” It’s a confluence of events that can be immensely draining—both emotionally and financially.

For financial advisors, this presents a unique opportunity to help everyone involved. By lending a hand during this challenging time, you can help your existing clients preserve and protect their hard-earned retirement savings. At the same time, you can help the older generation manage the details of their estate to help ensure their own assets last for the rest of their lives and ease the transfer of wealth to their children after death. Here are five steps to help expand your practice across generations:

1. Offer emotional support.

Growing older is inevitable, but it can be difficult to accept the fact that parents are aging. They may feel sad, helpless, and overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for Mom and Dad. Because this added burden often comes just as couples are becoming empty-nesters, they may also feel some level of guilt for not wanting to have to take on this added responsibility. Talk though these feelings and be willing to share your experiences with your own parents. Assure your clients that whatever feelings may come up are normal—and that planning for the inevitable can help ease the road ahead.

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