Calling All Women: Take Retirement Planning into Your Hands
Good news ladies: today, more women are the primary breadwinners in U.S. families than ever before. There are also significantly more career opportunities for women than past decades have seen. It’s not just the workplace that’s changing. The overall human life expectancy is at an all-time high and is expected to continuously increase. More money, more opportunities, a longer life…doesn’t sound like a bad deal. But there are several things to consider.
A longer life expectancy means that people need to save more to avoid outliving their retirement savings. Additionally, while the U.S. has made great strides in terms of gender equality, the fact is that women on average still earn less than men. Women are also more likely to take time away from their careers to care for their children than men are. Therefore, women face more challenges but also an increasing responsibility to plan for their own retirement.
We’re going to address these challenges head on and provide some tips on how to tackle your retirement planning.
Retirement Planning Challenges for Women
First things first: the challenges you may expect to encounter in your retirement planning.
Taking time away from the workforce
As we’ve already touched upon, women are more likely than men to take a break from their career to care for their children. Taking time to care for your children is a wonderful opportunity. However, it usually occurs during the time when a woman’s career is in its early stages. This temporary leave can lead to short-term and long-term financial issues.
Earning less than men
Unfortunately, it remains that women generally earn less than men. This means that women have lower overall savings, retirement plan balances, and Social Security benefits than men.
Living longer than men
It seems at odds that living longer would be classified as a challenge, but it can be when it comes to financial planning. Since women generally outlive men, they need more retirement savings and benefits to last them the rest of their lives.
Now that we’ve outlined the challenges, let’s discuss actions that may be taken to help overcome these obstacles:
Envision Your Future
If you want something in life, it’s not enough just to say it. You have to envision it and paint a picture in your mind of what it will look like once you’ve achieved it.
Ask yourself what you want your life to look like in the next few decades. How do you want to live? Do you want to travel? How do you plan on enjoying your money once you’ve retired? Establish where you want to be financially so that you have a clear goal in your mind. Only then can you begin the planning and steps necessary to reach that goal.
Invest, Invest, Invest
Next, learn how to put your money to work. For those who may not have already been told this, we’re telling you now: Eventually, your money should be working for you.
One way to reduce your investment risk is by diversifying your money across different investments. Remember to consider how much risk you are able and willing to take on. After all, you need to be comfortable with your decision before taking on an investment risk.
Communicate with Your Spouse or Significant Other
Communication is key. Talk to your spouse or significant other about your retirement needs and determine how much you will need each month. As a couple, sit down and establish how you want to manage your money so that you can use it as you wish in retirement.
Keep in mind that a divorce will impact your retirement planning.
Create a Budget and Spending Plan
Create a budget and spending plan that will help maximize your resources. Start by creating an emergency fund and dividing your remaining assets into short-term money, mid-term money, and long-term money.
Ensure that your emergency fund includes at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses for any unexpected rainy days.
Take Advantage of Your Benefits
Know when and how to take advantage of your Medicare and Social Security benefits. Speak with a financial advisor to help you understand how to use your benefits in a way that aligns with your unique financial needs.
Time to Get Planning
With more opportunity comes more responsibility. Women are making incredible advancements in career opportunities and the gender pay gap is becoming slimmer and slimmer. But that doesn’t mean it no longer exists. Likewise, while women’s influence in the workforce is increasing, there are still challenges unique to women that ought to be addressed.
Take an active role in your financial planning to pursue the retirement that you envision. Consult with Confidere Financial for financial expertise on retirement planning.