My Reason for FIRE: The Sandwich Generation

There’s been a huge amount of PF blogs that have cropped up recently with the goal of FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early), people don’t want to be working 9-5 until age 65 anymore and want to live their lives on their own terms.  Many people are realizing that free time (time to do what you want) is more important than consumer goods, such as the newest iPad or the newest iPhone.

FIRE is a great movement, and I must say it’s very inspiring to read all the motivation out there to live a work optional life.

I’m Not that FiRE-Y but do want a work optional lifestyle

To be honest, I’m not that FIRE-Y.  I don’t want to completely retire at age 38, live a nomadic, minimalist, lifestyle off the grid, and hope the $1,000,000 nest egg is going to last until I am 95, through cycle upturns and downturns.  I don’t mind working at my job (actually I kind of enjoy it), but I just don’t want to be doing it full-time or having to rely on it.  I want the option to work to be flexible and on my terms.

The reason I want the option to work and be flexible is because of…

ageing parents and young children= difficult combination

Once people hit their 80’s health issues usually start to occur and frailty, hospital admissions, decreased independence, and decreased mobility begins to creep in.  My mom has 14 more years until she hits the big 8-0 and my mother in law and father have 11 more years until they hit the big 8-0.  Of course, being in your 80’s and frail is a generalization, there is a lot of heterogeneity with older adults and frailty can hit earlier in late 70’s or even early 70’s or later in mid-80’s, depending on health conditions that crop up.

It’s kind of a crap shoot to know what kind of health one might be in, and of course dependent on the fitness lifestyle of the individual.

For example, my great aunt is in her mid-80’s and she’s very fit, plays badminton three times a week and I’m pretty sure has more muscle mass than my mom who’s in her 60’s, doesn’t exercise, and thinks walking 5 metres from her car to the grocery store is considered exercise.

Once frailty hits, there will be medical appointments, follow up with specialists, helping with banking and grocery shopping if they aren’t able to do it anymore, and encouraging them to use a walker when they don’t want to give up their independence or ‘look old’ and unfortunately having to see them fall when because they don’t want to use the aforementioned walker.

To top it all off, there is the issue of family dynamics and siblings- who is going to do what?  People are different and have different perspectives, even when they are raised by the same parents.  One person might think the ageing parent should go into a home, the other thinks they are too busy with their job to help out, and often the entire responsibility of caring for a frail parent falls on just one sibling.  It will be never ending and if it is a difficult situation, can have the potential to tear families apart.

Now to address young children.  In 11 or 14 years my eldest child (hopefully I’ll have more than one!) will be 11 or 14.  Still school age, preteen, or adolescent.  They will probably be in the throes of extracurricular activities, will need to be chauffeured to soccer games, hockey practices, music lessons etc.

Life with ageing parents and young children is going to be BUSY.

i don’t want to be be sandwiched

The above scenario is described as the sandwich generation.  According to Wikipedia, the sandwich generation is caught between caring for ageing parents and their young children.  People in this demographic will be in their 40’s to 60’s.

So for me, I don’t want to be completely sandwiched.  I don’t want the stress of not being able to take my aging parent to a medical appointment because of a full-time job.  I don’t want to be exhausted at the end of the work day and have little reserve and energy to watch my child at his or her soccer game.  Of course one could say that I don’t need to be taking care of my aging parents but for me, I plan to help out since they helped me for the first, what, 18 years of my life.

my plan for financial independence

Hence, the timeline for my financial independence is around 10-15 years, and I hope to have a net worth of $1,000,000 by age 40 (that’s less than 10 years to go without disclosing my exact age).  I have over $350,000 to go to achieve a $1,000,000 net worth.  I plan to sell my condo in a few years and use the home equity to add to my investment portfolio.  With a $1,000,000 portfolio invested in dividend paying stocks, my passive income generated could be around $40,000 annually provided my average annual dividend yield is 4%.

Anyone care for a grilled or burnt sandwich?  Should that be my new logo?  A sandwich being torched?

Readers, how about you?  What is your reason for FIRE?

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About genymoney

GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle.

16 comments on “My Reason for FIRE: The Sandwich Generation

  1. Ugh, I worry about my parents every day. They’re still going pretty strong but I just worry that I will be the only one caring for them. I have my brother and sister with me BUT because I am the oldest and more responsible one, I feel like my parents will be my responsibility.

    And thanks for explaining FIRE to me. I’ve seen that term around but never knew what it meant lol.

    BTW have my comment for your previous post go through? I ran into some connection issues.

    • @Melanie- I’m the most responsible one too of my family (even if you factor in my mom and dad, haha). Yes unfortunately it’s hard to talk about with families (future planning) until the health crisis actually happens. I tried to talk about it with my sisters as well and mom but it’s hard to conceptualize, so I plan to just get myself organized in the event that they won’t.

      Oh no, I didn’t get your previous comment, I thought I fixed the problem but perhaps I didn’t! I just tried deactivating another Plugin now hopefully that fixed it for good!

  2. I worry about this all the time. My mother has made clear that my brother and I are her retirement funds. Ack! She’s still young yet, so I’m hoping something will change in the meanwhile. But it would certainly be a lot easier to only care for one generation at a time.

    • @YAPFB- Oh gosh really? Wow well at least she let you know in advance and it’s all clear, out in the open! My parents and in-laws have their finances in order for retirement but it’s the physical care that would be needed. My mom thinks she will be able to do stairs when she’s in her 80’s (she may, or she may not but best to prepare for the worst case scenario).

  3. You hit the nail on the head when you said you want a work optional lifestyle. This is what we’re aiming for as well as the fact that we will have young children and aging parents who, even if we don’t have to help them financially, we will more than likely have to help them in other ways. And we’re fine with that. We just want to be prepared for them and for us, and still be able to enjoy life the way we see fit!

    • @Kim- Exactly Kim! That’s exactly how I feel. My dad broke his ankle (he got struck by a car) a few months back and he lives in a townhouse by himself. I had to take him to his doctor’s appointments (because he couldn’t walk very far with crutches) during my work day and I already felt the stress/squeeze.

  4. I had to care for both my in-laws when my 3 kids were under 8 and I was working full time. We made it work but FI would have been great then! I am not interested to stop working either , I just want to have the freedom to work when I want.

    • @Caroline- Oh gosh, I can’t imagine what that must have been like! 3 Kids under 8 is already quite the feat! I think my ideal would be to work part time and have the flexibility to choose my days that I work.

  5. I am not FIRE-y either but our goal within the next 10-15 years is to have that optional work lifestyle by keep building our net worth and reach to the point where we don’t really need to dependent on working full-time. As we enter this sandwich generation(like that term BTW) with Baby with Cents going to school in a few years, maybe having a second kid, and our parents heading into their seventies their will a lot more responsibilities for both of us and not whole heartily being dependent on working would be a great.
    My parents go for a jog every morning around a lake close by their house so hopefully that will keep them in great health for the next 10+ years. And my in-laws are strolling Baby with Cents to the library or playground since they take care of him when we’re at work and we hope that will keep them active and in great health as well.
    Kris recently posted…How Did I Figure Out I’m An IntrovertMy Profile

    • @Kris- Sounds like you have a great plan in place. As long as I’m not in a double decker sandwich I’ll be okay. I think some baby boomers right now might have double decker sandwich situations- taking care of their elderly parents and their grandchildren. Wow your parents go for a jog every morning- that’s fantastic! And your in-laws go for a walk to the library or playground! My mother in law is in good health, she walks a lot, but my mom doesn’t do much exercise unfortunately.

  6. Suddenly being a millennial doesn’t sound so bad 😉 I worry about my parents too. They don’t have nearly enough saved away for retirement and since I’m the only child (China’s one child policy) it’s up to me to flip the bill. They want a house in South Carolina and they wanted me to co-sign the mortgage. Eeek…

    Your FIRE goal sounds awesome. Half of ours net worth is in home equity and I’m tempted to convert it to something more liquid even if it means giving up Airbnb and renting. Another 🔥 option is to move to Thailand! Enjoy the beach and the food for $5 bucks a day…hmmm that sounds good! 🙂

    • @Lily- Oh, I’ve never been to South Carolina, is it nice? They don’t want to live near you in SF?

      Half of my NW is tied up in home equity too, but your Airbnb gig is so lucrative. I was thinking of doing Airbnb with my place too but then I found out someone was doing it in my condo and they were reported to the City (guess it’s not allowed).

      Yes, moving to Thailand would be amazing! Fresh mango smoothies every day. Health care is pretty cheap too, you can get a full workup for everything (even an MRI) for $2500 USD lol.

  7. The top reason for achieving FIRE is to never have to worry about money again once I achieve my goal of $2M in net worth. Yes, once I achieve that goal, working will be optional. I can pretty much bet that my stress level will decrease significantly because I have to option to quit if i no longer enjoy my work.
    Leo T. Ly recently posted…My 2017 Personal Net Worth Review – Q3My Profile

    • @Leo- You’re almost there! Mine is half of your goal. For me it’s not simply NW but investable assets/in the market to generate passive income . Everyone in Vancouver is likely a millionaire in NW but it’s all tied up in home equity.

  8. These are wonderful reasons for pursuing a work optional life. They were actually the driving factor for me to leave my full-time job. With the optional work life, there is better balance. One of my parents had a medical issue at age 65, earlier this year. They live about 800 miles from me so I had limited time to help with their rehabilitation. Had I left the workforce earlier, I would have been there more.
    Turning Point Money recently posted…The Time I Made $100,000 By Reading a Finance BlogMy Profile

    • @TPM- I’m so sorry to hear that your parent had a medical issue at 65 this year. It’s hard to be pulled in different directions, and not be able to help out. It really makes you want to work for yourself or be financially independent and not rely on an employer, during times like these!

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