Get ahead with a deeper understanding of your sandwich generation clients

Andy Beswick, Intermediary Director at Aviva, talks us through the sandwich generation.

The sandwich generation may be one of your most significant client segments due to their age, wealth and product needs.  Aviva is looking into how you can help these clients and have more effective conversations with them by using behavioural science.

Who are the sandwich generation?

There are two key defining characteristics of the sandwich generation – they are aged between 45 and 60 years old, and they often care for both parents and children.  It’s likely that you have clients like this, as there are 2.4 million people* in the sandwich generation in the UK.

Sandwich generation clients often have to manage a lot of complex issues.  They’re time poor, feeling the pressure from different directions and often experience inertia when making decisions and taking action.

Three generations of needs with one client

The clients themselves may be worried about their retirement and whether they will be able to live the lives they want, so they need to make the most out of their pensions and investments.  They may still have a mortgage and children who rely on them financially, and may not be protected against worst case scenarios. They’re at the age when they might want to consider private medical insurance - if they haven’t already - to help with their healthcare in the future.

For their parents, they may be concerned about planning for long-term care.  This can be a difficult and emotional situation that is uncomfortable for people to talk about, and the financial implications can cause a huge amount of stress.  There may also be inheritance tax and estate planning to consider.

For their children, members of the sandwich generation might be funding further education or helping them get onto the property ladder.

How can behavioural science help?

We’re working with behavioural science experts Professor Paul Dolan and best-selling author Steve Martin, to help you better understand your sandwich generation clients.  This includes a handy book with practical insights and tips to help make your business more effective.

Using behavioural science can help you;

  • Inspire your squeezed clients to reconsider financial plans and priorities;
  • Unlock your clients’ underlying motivations and open up potentially new approaches to help them achieve their financial goals;
  • Help your clients consider and visualise future life events – even potentially uncomfortable and unforeseen ones;
  • Introduce difficult financial conversations to clients such as long term-care and critical illness.

What next?

You can follow @Aviva4advisers on Twitter and Aviva4Advisers on LinkedIn for more information on the sandwich generation and behavioural science, and to find out when you can download the latest New Thinking book.

You can also visit for behavioural science basics and more New Thinking.

Andy Beswick, Intermediary Director, Aviva


*(Source: Carers UK; YouGov, 2012)

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