The biggest danger for those stuck in the middle is the risk of neglecting their own financial planning as they attempt to help everyone else.

A good way to cope is to "plan, plan, and plan some more," says Ann Dowd, CFP, a vice president at Fidelity Investments. "Caring for kids and aging parents comes with many imponderables—there's no telling how much help they'll need or for how long.”

She added that clients who find themselves sandwiched by family financial demands should remember to pay themselves first by contributing as much as possible to their workplace retirement plan.

”At least contribute up to any company match so you're not leaving ‘free money' on the table,” she advises.

Dowd also recommended funding emergency cash reserves, avoiding or paying down high-interest debt and, above all, making one’s own retirement saving a top priority. 

Advisors can be very instrumental in helping clients get a handle on their total or potential family liabilities, and help them set priorities so they aren’t tempted to raid retirement plans to help pay family expenses. Dipping into a nest egg sacrifices the potential for tax-deferred growth, and that could eventually force a person to depend on their children for financial support in retirement, Dowd said.

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