While those of us in the Sandwich Generation may have a list of items or resolutions to tackle in this New Year for ourselves and for our dependent children and elderly ones for whom we provide care, here are few action items that are not all inclusive but certainly important to consider to proactively prepare you and your loved ones for the future:
- Review everyone's healthcare needs in your family (spouse, children and elders for whom you care) and determine any appointments, exams or diagnostic services that should be scheduled such as wellness visits for children, mammograms, annual physicals, blood work, vision, or dental appointments, to name a few. This is also a good time to update any vaccines or flu shots if you haven't done so already.
- It's a great time to explore a long term care policy for yourself if you do not have one already. Traditionally, like life insurance, long term care policies cost less if you purchase them when you are younger so if at all possible, seize the day and do your homework to purchase a long term care policy sooner rather than later.
Review life insurance policies or explore the purchase of insurance if you do not have one already.
- Review or start a college savings plan for your children. This is a great way to not only save for college but also shelter your money.
- If you are in the Sandwich Generation and do not have a retirement savings plan it is never too late to start! If you already have a retirement savings account, look at your retirement contributions to determine if changes need to be made in the New Year based on current contributions, recent changes in salary, or the current market. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to combine retirement plans I have from old employers to make management of one account easier. If your employer matches a percentage of your savings, at a minimum try to save the percentage that is matched. Strive to reach the maximum annual pre-tax contribution of $17,500 for 2014 if possible. If you are 50 or older you can take advantage of the allowable catch-up contributions of an additional $5,500 for 2014.
- While you may be taking down the Christmas tree and packing away decorations and cringing at the thought of seeing your credit card bills arrive, consider a Christmas Club savings account for 2014 now so you can sock away money and not have to deal with the "Financial Holiday Hangover" in January next year.
- Many of us in the Sandwich generation are dependent upon our vehicles not only for work but also to transport our children and elders. Make sure you are up to date on your vehicle maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations to avoid any unnecessary road side delays.
By implementing these action items, you are increasing your odds of enjoying a Healthy and Happy New Year for 2014 and many years to come!