British Sandwich Week, 19-26 May

I’ve just found out this week is British Sandwich Week, which - as well as making me peckish - got me thinking.

My personal favourite is the tuna and cucumber baguette (thank you Pret!) but what does the nation as a whole prefer?

Luckily Warburton’s has already done the hard work for me here, and last year surveyed 2000 people to find out. The winners were:

Top 10 most popular sandwich fillings for everyday occasions:

1. Cheese
2. Ham and cheese
3. Ham salad
4. Sausage
5. Cheese and onion
6. Egg mayonnaise
7. Tuna mayo
8. Chicken salad
9. Chicken mayo
10. Cheese and pickle

On average, Britons eat 4 sandwiches a week; you’d think this would give us plenty of opportunity to try out different fillings, but most people seem to be creatures of habit and stick to a few trusted favourites.

And it turns out my habitual pick is a lowly 7th, behind lots of others I’d prefer to avoid (ham salad or cheese and onion – no thank you very much).

In fact, there’s another sandwich I’d rather avoid but that I can’t help actually being part of, and that’s the so-called Sandwich Generation.

The Sandwich Generation

sandwichWikipedia defines this as ‘a generation of people (usually in their 30s or 40s) who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children’ and being part of it can have detrimental effects both emotionally, as people struggle to find the resources to deal with younger and older dependents’ conflicting demands, and also financially, as they’re forced to spend money on present-day care costs instead of being able to save for their own future.

 

Let’s take a look at the first side of the sandwich: childcare.

Many working parents may want to ask grandparents to look after their grandchildren, both so the generations can spend time together and to avoid having to pay the full cost of childcare; however, if the older generation are in ill health this is a less viable option. 

BabyCentre estimates the average UK cost of childcare at £210 a week for a child under two1, which is a massive sum.  If a worker were instead able to contribute this into their pension pot, here’s the difference it could make to their savings by age 65 starting at different ages:

 

Age 30

Age 35

Age 40

Age 45

Pension saver for one year childcare

£32,500

£28,500

£25,000

£21,500

Pension saver for ongoing childcare

£759,500

£605,000

£470,500

£352,500i

Realistically, to be able to go to work most parents will need childcare.  But we’d recommend you start saving as much as you can, as soon as you can, once your children are no longer in paid childcare.  The example above shows the difference even a couple of years can make to your own retirement fund, which in turn is a step towards helping alleviate the burden on your children as and when they become Sandwichers themselves.

Meanwhile moving on to the other side of the sandwich, which is eldercare costs, things are even worse.

Sandwichers tend to estimate the annual cost of care for an elderly relative at around £5,000 but it’s closer to £32,000.2

If the sandwich carer’s parents are in a position to contribute 50% of that cost, that still leaves the other 50% for the sandwicher to potentially pick up (and that’s assuming they’re able to).

But if they were to have £16,000 per annum available, and no eldercare costs to pay, this could be worth a lot to their pension fund by age 65:

 

Age 30

Age 35

Age 40

Age 45

Pension saver for one year elder care

£51,000

£46,000

£40,500

£35,000

Pension saver for ongoing elder care

£1,231,000

£981,000

£762,500

£571,500

Now for obvious reasons I’m not wishing for the eldercare bills to stop coming in (!), but the key here is to talk to your parents ahead of time and agree the approach they’d prefer to take to funding their retirement, and potential care costs.  This can be a tricky conversation to have, but will be worth it in the long term when you’re all clear on what their financial plan is and how it may affect you.

And on that note, I’m off to do the school run before doing some errands for my parents…


1 https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a552732/the-cost-of-childcare

2 https://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/sandwich-generation-carers-parents-children-support-expenses-cost-care-homes-social-care-a8733841.html

i Assumptions for all calculations shown:

Retirement age = 65
Inflation = 2.2%.  All amounts are in today’s money terms
Investment return = 5.0% net of charges
Assumes contributions receive basic rate tax relief at 20%
Assume childcare is needed 47 weeks of the year allowing for 4 weeks holiday and bank holidays

Posted by Sarah Tolson

Topics: Savings And Lifestyle

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