What Is Your Family’s Dependency Ratio?
When it comes to working, life can be divided into three broad categories. There’s the under-18 age group, which has yet to enter the workforce, a mature population over the age of 65 that is in or near retirement and the “Sandwich Generation.”
This label commonly refers to working adults “sandwiched” between various dependent demographic groups. Because working adults are bringing in regular income, it makes sense that they are often relied upon for health, financial support and the general well-being of some other demographic groups.
One side of the sandwich may be populated with the needs of children, adolescents, teenagers, college students and young millennials out there trying to get a foothold in the adult world. The other side of the sandwich may be packed with parents and other relatives who may require regular assistance with tasks ranging from having a prescription picked up at the pharmacy to replacing a ceiling lightbulb, not to mention having gutters cleaned and tires rotated.
This is reflected in the dependency ratio, which measures how many people in a specific population are responsible for providing support to other demographics. This measurement provides a way to analyze ongoing changes in the dependency structure among younger and older generations. The ratio is calculated by dividing the number of people in the dependent age groups by the number in the working age group and then multiplying that number by 100.1
We believe this reliance can be a heavy burden for the “middle generation,” and should not be taken for granted. The reality is that the increased responsibility brought on by longer lifespans may make the caretakers of the Sandwich Generation more vulnerable to their own early onset illnesses resulting from high stress, poor eating habits, lack of regular exercise and the mental overload of dealing with so many different tasks, including work demands.
If you’ve graduated from the Sandwich Generation and are enjoying retirement, it may be good to think about the responsibilities you faced in your working years and compare it to the workload your son or daughter may be facing now.
Could some of the money given to the kids or grandkids be spent on a regular handyman, or paying a neighbor who loves to cook to provide you with some home-cooked meals every week? We believe some simple changes may increase your feeling of independence, while also taking a thing or two off your grown child’s to-do list.
Money Saving Tips
Department of Labor’s Rule for Fiduciary Advice
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for ensuring tax-advantaged savings vehicles, such as traditional pensions, IRAs and 401(k)-type plans, are secure and operated in accordance with federal laws and regulations.
Employers and other plan sponsors are charged with the fiduciary responsibility to work in the best interests of plan participants, but for IRA owners, there has never been any particular entity assigned this responsibility; these independent investors are accountable for their own decisions.
However, the DOL has proposed new rules that would require financial advisors to work in a fiduciary responsibility and only recommend products that are most beneficial to clients. These would be the first changes to these regulations since 1975 and were brought about in part because of the shift in how Americans save for retirement.
Self-directed IRAs and 401(k) plans are now more common than the professionally managed defined benefit plans of yesteryear. The DOL’s proposal is designed to ensure that the advice and investment recommendations individual account owners receive from financial advisors is in their best interest and presents no conflict of interest.
Fiduciary advisors may not accept any payments that create a conflict of interest, another reason the DOL is seeking this level of responsibility for financial advisors across the board. The proposal requires financial advisors to disclose any kind of fees or payments that could be perceived as an influence on their recommendations.
Presently, the DOL has published its recommended proposal. It is expected to release its final guidance in the coming months.
New Lifestyle Tip to Reduce Heart Disease
A new study comparing personalized lifestyle management strategies designed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) discovered a new tactic: yoga.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands compared the effectiveness of group therapy for stopping smoking, the Mediterranean diet, aerobic exercise (walking) and yoga to reduce CVD risk. Yoga was associated with the largest 10‐year risk reduction (16.7 percent) for the highest‐risk individuals, including both nonsmokers and smokers. Walking came in second (11.4 percent) and the Mediterranean diet third (9.2 percent).
While smoking cessation was found to be the most effective form of cardiovascular disease prevention, attempts to stop smoking via group therapy was deemed generally ineffective. The study concluded that yoga could be considered among the strongest lifestyle interventions for reducing CVD risk.3
1 Jennifer M. Ortman, Victoria A. Velkoff and Howard Hogan. U.S. Census Bureau. May 2014. “An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States.” https://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1140.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2016.
2 United States Department of Labor. 2016. “FAQs: Conflicts of Interest Rulemaking.” http://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/documents/featured/protectyoursavings/factsheetcoi.pdf. Accessed March 16, 2016.
3 Journal of the American Heart Association. March 29, 2016. “Preventive Cardiology.” http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/5/3/e002737.full. Accessed March 31, 2016.
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