The financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic are causing mental health problems for many of those in the ‘sandwich generation’.
More than half of adults aged 45 to 54 – who are often juggling childcare and eldercare – say they are more concerned about their financial situation now, compared to the pre-Covid period.
The survey, by Aviva, found almost a third of those in this age bracket said these financial concerns were having a negative impact on their mental health.
In some cases the effect were severe: with two in five (38 per cent) reporting sleep problems because of financial worries, almost 20 per cent saying it is causing physical health problems, and more than one in 10 (13 per cent) saying these concerns are affecting close relationships.
The research into how personal finance issues have been exacerbated during lockdown, reveals that it is this – often known as Generation X – who are shouldering the heaviest financial burden as a result of the pandemic.
One in six respondents within this age group says that adult children have become more financially dependent on them as a result of the Covid-19. This is a higher proportion than older baby boomers.
Aviva’s head of savings and retirement Alistair McQueen says: “The economic impact of coronavirus has been laid bare and our research has revealed the significant mental health impact that the financial concerns have caused.
“While no one is immune to the knock-on effects that the economic downturn will have – the impact on the mental health on the squeezed middle is far-reaching. Too often this generation finds themselves shouldering their own financial burden, and at least part of their children’s, and it’s vital that more support is offered to them.”
However the research also showed that the majority of these mid-life adults (60 per cent) who discussed their finances with a family member of close friend agree that they felt less stressed as a result
Aviva says it is encouraging employer to offer ‘mid-life MOTs’ to this age group, via its own programme. It says this helps people discuss wealth, work and wellbeing needs, and is particularly useful for those who cannot afford to access independent financial advice.
McQueen adds: “Beyond this, we are committed to helping deliver better help and support for our customers and want to work with the government and regulators to make sure that suitable advice is accessible and affordable for the majority, within a properly regulated framework.”