The Sandwich Generation

Updated: August 12, 2023

Are you part of the sandwich generation? No, I’m not referring to people who are too busy to cook at home, and they often eat fast food burgers for meals.

The sandwich generation is far more complicated than them… and unfortunately, I believe that many of us are part of it.

Who is the sandwich generation? They’re people whose life is “squeezed” by two generations.

They are the men and women who care for their aging parents while, at the same time, working to support their own children.

Let me pause and give you time for that to sink in…


Now let me ask you again… are you part of the sandwich generation? If so, then let me make it worse for you by giving you three types of sandwiches to define yourself.

Traditional Sandwich
You’re a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you support your parents and your own children.

Club Sandwich
You’re a big turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise sandwich if you support your parents, your adult children, and their children (your grandchildren).

Or maybe you’re not a turkey but a ham club sandwich who supports your parents, your children, plus your siblings and their family. And perhaps, you also have lettuce and honey mustard if you support your spouse’s side of the family as well.

Open-Faced Sandwich
You’re a fancy roast beef open-faced sandwich if you’re neither of the first two but are still involved in eldercare. You may not be squeezed, but you’re still expensive – just like your monthly bills.

The Sandwich Generation

The term “sandwich generation” has been around since 1981. It was coined by a social worker named Dorothy Miller. And in July 2006, it has officially been accepted as an entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Moreover, you should know that I didn’t invent those three categories. Those terms are from Carol Abaya, a recognized expert in the study of the sandwich generation.

And no, she’s not Filipina but an American, just in case you’re wondering. But I wish she was Filipina so that we’d have a local expert who can help us cope with this reality.

Break the cycle. Don’t let your children become the next sandwich generation.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy
Photo credit: roboppy


  1. It appears to be difficult problem which cause people to live in difficulty. But what about a proposed solution?

  2. I think all of what sir Fitz is writing here are the “solutions”. If we just follow some of his advises, we’ll be good at our old age. :)


  3. @Joel
    Personally, I think it’s hard to give concrete solutions for the people in the sandwich generation because, as Carol Abaya said in her website:

    1. There is no one right way or wrong way to “do” elder/parent care.
    2. Every situation and relationship is different, and;
    3. There is no magic wand to make a tough situation better.

    However, the video actually gives a few things that one should remember… among them are:

    1. Having “the talk” with everyone – specially about estate planning between you and your parents. While uncomfortable, it is a must.

    2. Have all legal documents prepared and ready, i.e. living last will, special power of attorney, life insurance, etc. – so that the family won’t “skip a beat” if ever something bad happens to anyone.

    3. Having a sense of humor… and understanding that love has no price.

    This is really a sensitive topic, and a special one for me because I am a member of the sandwich generation.

    I am still learning to cope, and finding ways to make things better.

    In time, I shall share and write in here the “solutions” which I’ve personally discovered and applied with my life. :D

  4. I am lucky to say that I am not among them because my parents did not ever asked for our help even if we found ourselves at one time financially downtrodden. And now that they’re growing old they declared that they don’t want to depend on us (their children) for financial support. They are still working at 50’s and hopefully they gain the financial independence they are yearning for. However, given our culture where parents invest in their children to support them when they grow old, many do find themselves in this situation. I sometimes think that if every Filipinos will be productive (employed or not employed) we would be a richer nation… don’t you think so? :)

  5. @Fitz,
    Appreciate your response… I agree with what you said 100%. Looking forward to your future personal post about this. Thanks!

  6. hello kuya fitz may tanong lang po na tanong ko na din sa iba wala pang reply, pag na Klik ko ba ung adsense link ko ma babanned ung account ko?? na klik ko kasi na hindi sinasadyan pero hindi sya content, link ads ung na Klik ko, wait ko po reply nyo

  7. I think there are so many people in the sandwich generation, taking care of others. This is just one more reason why it is so important to make sure that people limit tasks that get them nowhere. You know?

  8. Interesting topic Fitz, i just got reminded of the times that i had to support both sides of my family and her family due to series of problems they went through some 10 years ago. I can say i belong to the Club Sandwich, and looking back at it now, it just reminded me how that problem just build a solid bond not just me and my wife and kids but to her family too.

  9. Nice post sir Fitz!

    Parang karamihan sa mga Pinoy nasa Sandwich Generation. There is also a scenario na di na nakakapangasawa dahil sa dami ng sinusuportahan.
    Nothing against pagsupport sa parents. :) Yung sa ibang member ang dapat may limitations.

    Sana lang marealize din nila na di rin okay ang tumulong ng masyado dahil di na matututong dumiskarte sa sarili nila yung tinutulungan.

    Tulungan lang ang taong marunong tulungan ang sarili nila. :)

  10. This is an article I can relate to. Not that I’m part of the “sandwich generation” or any of the sandwich types. I can relate to it because I believe that becoming part of any of the types is and will always be a choice. I choose not to have kids, and I’m amazed with my parents and how they always say that they don’t want to depend on us (their kids). But the truth is, each and every part of the sandwich, the turkey, bread, peanut butter or jelly – choose their roles. Thanks Sir Fitz!

  11. This is very common amoung Filipinos and I belong to this group. Me and my wife are supporting my mother and sister, and her parents for everything food, rent, utilities, medicines, etc. We create our monthly budget once a month and everytime I see how much (percentage-wise) go to remittances back home (since both of us are OFWs), I can’t help but cringed a bit since it’s taking a big chunk of money from us. But on the other hand, our parents will always be our parents, we ought to honor them and supporting them financially is one way of honoring them. Gratefulness always tople the feeling of discontent.

    However, as a husband and wife, we all must set boundaries up to what extent do we lend a hand to our family and or relatives. This boundaries must be clearly defined as much as possible.

    Since we got married in 2011, we have certain boundaries set like we will never borrow money for anything (except for mortgage) and we will rather give money (what we kept extra) than lend money to relatives and family member. We would rather loose the money, than loose relationship knowing that there are greater risk for family members or relatives not paying back the money they owe us. It somehow change the relationship everytime someone borrows money from us. I guess the Bible clearly states that “The borrower is slave to the lender…”. We don’t want to have this kind of “slave-master” relationship with our family members and relatives that’s why we do not lend money.

  12. I love this post! baka nag comment nako sa taas in the past let me check… ahh not yet, first time on this post! I love how you make it the issue so light that I can laugh about eventhough the reality of it is overwhelming.

    I am definitely the lettuce and honey mustard variety :D lol

  13. I was part of the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Eventually, I know I’ll be part of this again as both my parents are 60+ years of age.

    My father supports his two grand children (children of my brother who passed away). Last year, our mother got confined. Good thing my sister got a health card for our mother in her company. But not everything was covered. Mother was confined twice and had miscellaneous fees of P10,000 each, which had to be paid in cash. Us remaining sisters forked out cash for that.

    Am a single parent and I don’t live in my parents’ house. I’ve been living independently, raising my daughter on my own for almost 7 years now. I know I need to re-evaluate my budget from time to time so I can contribute something to my parents. I don’t depend on child support too much as only P15,000 is being remitted monthly, and that is inclusive of the monthly tuition fee of my daughter.

    I am an independent contractor who has no benefits, no work no pay. My income is enough to support me and my daughter. My civil and church annulment cases are already finished. I am recuperating from those expenses. I hope to be able to build a larger emergency fund, am at 4 months EF now.

    I hope I will be able to break the cycle. I am investing monthly for retirement and paying monthly for my daughter’s college plan. I have been in debt for almost eight years since I left my now ex-husband. I have been circling around for personal loans, left and right, to help my father. And I have one last loan in my name, which I’ll be paying come April 2015 until the loan ends on 2016 so that my father can buy the maintenance medicine of our mother.

    I know that health care costs will come up anytime. I hope that my Philam Health Invest will be helpful when the time comes.

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