A DINK Sandwich

by Kristina Tahnyak on July 5, 2010 · 11 comments

hamburger faceLast week one of our readers posted a comment on our post titled “DINKS: Smart or Selfish?” .  It made me start thinking about our DINKS lifestyle and the generation gap between us and our parents.

On June 29 Kitty commented “Now, in the US kids normally don’t take care of their parents. But at least it’s somebody young who can maybe call you or help arrange for care when you are old. Even if not, it’s at least someone you could call.”

This statement is very true, and it is actually a discussion right now that I am having with my boyfriend Nick. I always thought that our hassle free DINK lifestyle would be thrown upside down by our kids.  Never in a million years did I think that our lifestyle could change because of our parents.

My father’s side of our family is eastern European.  Ukrainian, to be exact.  Although I am the second generation to be in Canada, my father still holds some old school values from “the old country”.  He is a strong believer in blood is thicker than water.  My father has an “eye for an eye” mentality when it comes to most things, but not to our family.  Regardless of the wrongs that other family members do to harm us, at the end of the day his advice is always to forgive them because “they are family.”  I can’t even count how many times I have heard my father say that.

My grandfather lived with my Dad and I until he passed away in November of 1998.  Now my only surviving grandparent is my grandmother on my mother’s side. She just recently moved into an elderly care facility because she needs assistance with her everyday tasks such as washing and getting dressed.  She also suffers from the early stages of dementia.

My boyfriend Nick who is European/African does not understand my mother’s choice to “commit” my grandmother into a senior care facility. His grandmother still lives with his Aunt and she will continue to do so until she passes on.  Similar to my family, the only surviving grandparent he has left is his grandmother on his mother’s side.  Nick comes from a culture where you always respect your elders, regardless of how old you are. His family also believes that you take care of your parents.  Elderly care facilities are not an option.

Many of us DINKS are in the, what we call, “sandwich generation.” It is the time of our lives when we are old enough to, and may be starting our own families.  While at the same time we may be living with, and/or caring for our parents.  We are sandwiched in between the older and younger generations.

This is something that we need to prepare for both mentally, as well as financially.  Feeding, housing, and clothing another person (especially one with special needs) can have a huge impact on your monthly budget. If you could afford it, would you invite your parents to live with you? Or would you fund their stay at an elderly care facility?

(Photo By marnanel)

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Khaleef @ KNS Financial July 5, 2010 at 9:28 am

My wife and I discuss this all of the time. We have no children, but only one income (so does that make us SINK’s?). We both feel very strongly about taking care of our parents and have both agreed to care for them as long as we are able – when/if that time comes. The only way they would go into a facility is if they need constant medical attention that can not be provided in our home.

Since we don’t have kids (and not sure if we ever will), we often think about who will care for us if we reach a point where we can no longer care for ourselves.

Good article!

2 Red July 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Personally, I wouldn’t choose to have children so I would have someone to take care of me. I’d set it up so that, when I reach an age that I’ll no longer be able to care for myself, I can go into a nursing home.

However, when thinking of my own parents, I know I couldn’t do that. I’ve already discussed this with my husband who has a less than enthusiastic attitude about taking care of elderly parents in our own home. But I couldn’t bear to think that some nurse is spending what could be the last moments of my mom or dad’s lives taking care of them. They took care of me when I couldn’t do it for myself, and I’ll do the same for them. And I would imagine, all other financial plans being equal, that it would cost us less to house, feed and clothe an ill parent than it would to put them in a nice facility. To me, it’s much more draining to consider the emotional costs than the financial ones.

3 Financial Samurai July 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I think it’s important to take care of your parents ourselves, and ask THEM what THEY want!

If they are ok with an awesome nursing home, great! Some are like resorts. If they want you to take care of them, great! That is what we should do.

The solution is simple. We do what they want.


Yakezie Lifestyle

4 Financial Samurai July 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm

BTW, just read your bio… what’s your boyfriend waiting for in terms of proposing? Is he 30 yet?

5 Hope to Prosper July 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm

@Sam, you are cold with the proposal comments. But, I agree it should be the parent’s choice wether or not to go into a nursing home. My great aunt went into one and she hated it. But, she had no children to take care of her, because she was a SINK. Luckily, my Mom and aunt looked after her. But, they were both working single Moms and couldn’t watch her all day.

I think it’s more important to take care of our aging parents than it is to mamby-coddle our children into adult life. After college, it’s time for junior and missy to get a job and save up for their own house. Mom and Pops are another story. They may not have the health and energy to fend for themselves. Then, it’s payback time for everything they have done for us.

6 Kristina July 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm


I don’t know what he’s waiting for. I have done everything but create a Pro List for Marriage and post it on our fridge. I guess he thinks that if the relationship is not broken, then don’t try to fix it.

7 Financial Samurai July 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Hi Kristina,

Perhaps marriage is overrated then? If the relationship really is fine, then is that not the most important thing?

@ Hope to Prosper – Why am I cold for asking about the proposal question? Kristina clearly puts it in her bio when she writes “She’s hoping to marry her long-time boyfriend Nick in the near future “. To actually NOT ask is cold in my opinion, b/c it’s clear to me that Kristina finds the topic very important. Refuse to not see someone Hope!

8 Kristina July 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I don’t mind at all that we are discussing my relationship status. In fact, I bring it up becuase I am trying to understand the pros and cons of marriage. Maybe if I can get some other peoples relationship advice we can offer an exchange of service for my financial advice :-)

9 Financial Samurai July 5, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Cool. Well, the reason why I asked if he turned 30 yet, is because that’s one key to the puzzle. The 2nd being whether he feels like he has achieved the success he wants in his career. Once he does, I think wedding bells aren’t far away.

Have you read “How To Get Your Super Motivated Boyfriend To Marry” you yet on my site? If so, feel free to ask some questions and I’ll respond. I really believe it’s the truth!

10 Hope to Prosper July 6, 2010 at 1:14 am

@Sam, I said it was cold because she has been waiting patiently and she can’t help it if he pops the question or not.

@Kristina, I have been married coming up on twenty years. We got married pretty young and our kids are now 17 and 21. My brilliant marriage advice to everyone is that it is going to be considerably harder than you think it will be. And if you aren’t both totally comitted it probably isn’t going to last. Since you two live together, you probably already know that.

I just wrote a little piece on the problems of divorce and in my opinion that is the biggest con of marriage. I’m not sure how it is up in Canada, but here in the US and in Europe, the family and divorce courts are a disaster. The lawyers are pratically the only ones who don’t get screwed. It should all be a lot more fair, reasonable, consitent and beneficial to the children than it is. Also, in the U.S., married couples pay higher taxes than two individual earners, which is very wrong. Since were single income, that’s not a problem.

The pros are that it’s the way to go for a long-term committed relationship, especially when raising children. I’m kind of old-fashioned, but I wanted our whole family to have the same last name. And, I made a lifetime comittment to my wife, put a ring on my finger and married her in front of our families. I know it sounds sappy, but marriage isn’t something you want to do half way. My family doesn’t have to worry about me taking off if I feel bored or selfish.

That’s just my humble opinion, but it has worked for us for twenty years.

11 Honey July 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

My boyfriend has agreed that my dad can live with us if it ever becomes necessary (he is a widower and all my grandparents are dead, so that’s it for my side). We are not on speaking terms with most of his family, so we’d never take them in.

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