A few months ago we covered one aspect of longevity — whether the risk of outliving your resources is greater than the risk of dying too young. Increased longevity is also changing the social and economic pressure many in the workforce feel, and as benefit professionals we need to consider how we can help. I like to refer to this issue as the sandwich and the barbell because they are two aspects of longevity, putting pressure on both employees and employers.

Let's start with pressure on employees in the sandwich generation. They are sandwiched between parents and grandparents who need assistance with some part of their daily living activities, and children who are dependent on them. These employees have to manage their work responsibilities and their family life in a delicate balance. How do they do a good job at work and answer increasingly challenging family needs?

Now, let's consider the barbell of employees. For many years, baby boomers were the largest working generation in the workplace. Today, we are told that millennials have surpassed boomers and now represent the largest block of workers. Employers are faced with the retirement of experienced boomers taking a great deal of collective wisdom with them. Millennials are replacing these boomers, but need training and guidance.

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