Proof That I am The Favorite Child
There’s been much conversation over the last few years about “the sandwich generation”—people between the age of 40 and 60 who are raising children while also caring for aging and elderly parents. It can be a difficult position, both financially and emotionally, as families struggle to find balance and meet financial obligations.
With recent reports that peoples’ life savings are disappearing, home equity is diminished and pension IRAs are deflated by $2trillion over the last 15 months, the most significant part of that amount lost in just the last few weeks, the idea of a generation stuck in the middle of life could very well be the new reality for a majority rather than a generation.
Global economic woes have nudged my threat meter from yellow to orange to red, and as I join the millions of Americans who are wondering where the hell the bottom is, my worry extends from my nuclear family to my extended family and community. I’m only 36. I have time to weather the storm, to look for new investments, to rally and prosper. I hope. But what about my parents?
I am the oldest of three children and last night as I contemplated our family financial obligations for things like my stepdaughter who’s still in college, our four-year-old’s security and college savings, and my own retirement goals, I also thought of my parents and wondered about their financial future.
Rather than sit and stagnate in my own worry juices, I picked up the phone and called my mom.
“Hi. What are you guys doing?” I asked
“We have guests for dinner,” she said and rattled off the names of other couples I could hear bantering good-naturedly in the background.
“I won’t keep you. I just have one quick but very important quesion.”
“OK, what’s that,” she asked
“I just want to know who gets custody of you and Dad if you go bust?”
She didn’t pause long enough to practically contemplate the question before blurting an unequivable…”YOU DO.”
“That’s what I thought,” I said and hung up.
I suppose some people could think of this as a possible hardship or financial fiasco. I on the other hand have decided to regard this little nugget as one more piece of proof that I really am my parents’ favorite child.