'Sandwich Generation' Inspires Products

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Longer life spans and a frustrating job market has meant an increasing number of soon-to-be retirees have financial obligations for both elderly parents and children who otherwise would be employed and out on their own.

Many in the so-called Sandwich Generation face costs for such big-ticket items as tuitions, weddings and mortgages -- all vying for their money as they try to tuck away what is needed for their own (hopefully) golden years.

Earlier this month, Generation Mortgage, the nation's largest privately owned reverse mortgage retailer, and Zogby International released data on the financial hardships facing the so-called Sandwich Generation

Their survey found that 78% of those polled (adults with children who are also caregivers for their own parents) said they are worried about having enough money to retire comfortably and 23% have restructured their retirement plan in the past year due to financial reasons. More than 50% said they plan to work part time during retirement to make ends meet.

"The Sandwich Generation is probably the most financially vulnerable demographic to result from the recession," says Jeff Lewis, chairman of Generation Mortgage. "They are unemployed or underemployed, financially supporting two generations in their family and are saddled with debt from bills and a mortgage. As this group looks to retire, their financial situation, coupled with the state of the economy, is not leaving them with many options."

The rising cost of long-term care is a chief concern for the Sandwich Generation, especially for those planning for their later years.

According to a state-by-state analysis by Generation Mortgage, the median annual rate this year for a private nursing home room was $75,190, a nearly $15,000-a-year increase since 2005.

Although there have traditionally been long-term care insurance products to hedge against such costs, they have been costly and inflexible.

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