Consider this counterintuitive personal investment trend: Those Americans in the middle of their peak professional earnings years are also going through feelings of financial insecurity greater than they will ever again experience.
There's a straightforward demographic reason for this, and it already has a name: the sandwich generation—Americans stuck between dependent kids and aging parents who need caregivers. It's no surprise, then, that sandwich generation can be known by another name: the sandwich investors, feeling less sure than ever before about their financial footing.
"Having parents that are 80 and 72 and dealing with heath issues, and kids still at home, I can really relate to the financial strains of being in the middle of a sandwich generation. Forty-five- to 55-year-olds are dealing with a lot of rapid-fire financial responsibilities," said Adam Sohn. Sohn may not be a retirement expert, but as an AARP vice president, he knows a thing or two about the impact of aging on all facets of life.
A recent BlackRock survey detailed the investment-specific repercussions of this "stuck in the middle" phenomenon. What was fascinating for BlackRock officials in the postmortem survey analysis is that both younger and older investors are more confident than the sandwich investors.
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Fifth-three percent of these Americans are more likely than any others, older or younger, to feel negatively about their financial future. They are also the demographic group to most likely feel "not at all in control" of their financial future and "not at all confident" about making the right savings and investment decisions, the survey found.
"They are caught in a crunch," said BlackRock's Rob Kron, head of investment and retirement education. "There is lots of talk about the 55-to-65 segment, the immediate pre-retirement demographic and their preparedness, but it's the segment just behind those folks that is most concerned and most anxious and feeling unprepared," Kron said.