Escaping The Squeeze of The Sandwich Generation: Three Important Rules

For John, working his office job for eight to nine hours a day is the only way he knows how to support his family. Family, for him, encompasses his ageing parents, his wife, and his two beautiful kids.

And for many people like John, this is the norm. They are called the Sandwich Generation, and for them, there isn’t much of a choice.

Now, growing up in Singapore, filial piety is a core moral value that’s instilled in us from young, so there is some of that built within them. But the realities they face are largely due to an increasingly ageing population, one that necessitates them to take care of themselves, those before them, and those after.


Who is the Sandwich Generation?

So, who exactly are they?

The Sandwich Generation typically refers to working adults in their 30s and 40s who have to take care of both their ageing parents (the people who came before), and their children (people who come after).

They are hence, “sandwiched”, between two groups of people whom they have to take care of – the financial responsibility of making sure their elderly parents’ needs are met as well as providing a future for their kids.


What issues do the Sandwich Generation face?

Raising a child in Singapore is no easy feat. From food to clothes and even healthcare, every parent wants the best for their children and this can be highly expensive. Not to mention, the exorbitant cost associated with the education “Arms Race” that comes in the form of extensive tuition sessions and the wide variety of enrichment classes. 

However, this is not the only financial baggage the Sandwich Generation carries. Far from it, many of the working adults also bear the responsibility of supporting their aged parents in retirement. With improved healthcare facilities, Singapore has topped the world in life expectancy – at almost 85 years. This also translates to higher healthcare costs as the Sandwich Generation has to support their aging parents over a longer period of time. In fact, some of the Sandwich Generation are continuing to support their elderly parents, having retired themselves. 

Faced with the financial pressures from both directions, many of the Sandwich Generation often struggle with their own financial planning.  A survey conducted in 2019 found that only 8% were confident in supporting both their retired parents and children. 

Thus, many end up neglecting their own retirement planning. This can lead to a vicious cycle. For example, if John and his wife do not plan for their retirement, the burden of caring for them will fall to their children when they grow old and retire. The cycle continues and their children will be part of the next Sandwich Generation. 


What can the Sandwich Generation do?

If you find the above familiar, you are probably part of the Sandwich Generation. However, fear not, as you are definitely not alone in this. Here are some things you can do to aid your situation.

A balanced lifestyle

While we all want the best for our loved ones, it is necessary to differentiate between needs and wants. It is good to instill financial literacy in your children to ensure that they understand the value of your hard-earned money and think twice before splurging.

Cutting down on the indulgences will also be beneficial. Whether it is choosing to dine in instead of a meal out at a restaurant, or going to a nearer destination for your vacation, these savings add up and can be beneficial to you in the long run.

Ensuring that you are well protected 

Even the best budgeting can be unravelled by a diagnosis of a critical illness. Critical illnesses do not choose their victim – anyone from the elderly to working adults and young children can be susceptible to it. Hence, it is essential to ensure everyone in the household is well insured against critical illnesses. However, this is easier said than done. Getting a policy for every member of the household can be a tiresome and costly process. 

An option you can consider is GREAT Family Care. It is a multi-generation critical illness term plan that allows you to protect three different generations in a family within a single policy.

Here is a breakdown of GREAT Family Care:

Who it Covers?



Coverage Period 


53 Critical illnesses, Death, Total and Permanent Disability (TPD), and Terminal illness (TI)

100% of Sum Assured 

Up to age 85 

Your children 

53 critical illnesses and 25 juvenile conditions 

25% of sum assured, up to S$50,000 per child

Up to age 18 

Your Parents 

(Parent Protect rider)

Major Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease / Severe Dementia or Parkinson’s Disease

15% of the sum assured or S$15,000, whichever is higher

Up to age 100

A great feature of the plan is that you can extend coverage to your children and elderly parents, without a need for any medical underwriting. This will allow your entire family to be easily covered under one plan, saving you much time and cost.

Proper Financial Planning

As tough as it might sound, It is necessary for you to have adequate financial planning and budgeting. Good financial planning can not only help you cope, but also enable your children to break out of the cycle. This includes planning for both yourselves and your loved ones. 

The cost of education can add up to a hefty sum. On average, depending on the course of study, a degree course in a local university can range from S$29,650 to S$146,750. This amount is way higher if your child pursues an overseas university education. Thus, it is essential to start saving early to ensure that you can afford the education expenses. A popular option is an endowment plan. This provides a low-risk option for you to systemically save up to hit a certain target amount upon policy maturity.

For yourself, having a retirement plan can help you stay financially independent when you retire. This will relieve your children from the financial baggage of providing for your retirement, allowing them to pursue their dream.  


Ending Notes

With continued advancements in healthcare technology, life expectancy is only going to increase. Coupled with inflation, your children are going to have an even more difficult time should the issue of Sandwich Generation be passed on. 

This can be easily avoided. With the right protection and financial planning, you can ensure that you continue to be well supported even in your late years. There is a wide variety of insurance plans that you can tap on to ensure that you are the last Sandwich Generation.

Don’t let your children become your retirement plan. Get in touch with us today!


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Read More:
CareShield Life: The Ultimate Guide for Singaporeans & PRs
CPF Investment Scheme: What Can We Invest Our CPF Savings In?
CareShield Life Supplements Comparison: NTUC Income vs Aviva vs Great Eastern





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