5 Ways to be Sure You’re Saving Enough for Retirement as a Woman
Although both men and women have access to the same retirement savings accounts, recent research has found that women are far less financially prepared to retire in comparison to their male counterparts. This isn’t only due to obvious reasons, such as the gender pay gap. Everyday reasons matter as well when it comes to saving enough for retirement.
Throughout their careers, women take more maternity and family leave than men. This contributes to and accumulates years where women do not have a salary or the ability to individually save towards retirement.
Women live longer than men, generally speaking and scientifically grounded. Even in conception, male zygotes die more frequently than female ones. Additionally, men take more risks and women have an abundance of estrogen which makes them more resilient.
Recent statistics show this trend is changing, but traditionally, women did not make the majority of financial decisions in the family and would rely on their partners to invest in the future. Luckily, the air is stirring, and below are ways that women can take control and get on the path to a secure retirement, today!
When it Comes to Saving Enough for Retirement, Education Is the First Step
In anything, having a baseline of knowledge (as cliché as it may sound) is power and will serve more than can be imagined. Some great ways to get informed are to subscribe to retirement or investment periodicals, consult a financial advisor, or attend a financial planning seminar.
Be Honest and Set Goals
It can be difficult, but it is important to take an honest look at your financial situation and then set goals of what you would like to save and how you are willing to do that. Maybe it means downsizing or maybe it means working part-time into retirement age.
Employing the use of a retirement planning calculator is a good way to get a clear picture of what it will cost you to retire, so that way you have a number to aim for when you begin your saving and planning process.
Start Saving ASAP and Consider Working Longer
The best way to ensure savings are being deducted from salary is an automatic deposit. 10-15% is a great number to start with. As you get closer to retirement though, try to save more if you are not on track (which you can find out through a simple retirement calculator).
Other ways to save are reviewing your expenses and seeing what you can optimize (ex. cable, mobile phone plans, insurance, etc.). Some people even try to drastically cut spending for a month to see what they really need.
You may also want to consider working longer or part-time in retirement – since it reduces the pressure on your retirement savings and gives you more time to save and invest.
Who Else Do You Have to Care for?
When planning for retirement, estimate the costs of taking care of children, grandchildren or even parents. How will this impact your savings or ability to work? Caregiving is a huge cost that falls primarily on women today – take this into consideration when you set your savings’ goals and milestones.
Open Lines of Communication
Independence is valuable and important, but if you and your spouse keep everything separate and fail to communicate, there may be some major surprises at your retirement time that can be easily avoided.
Be transparent with your spouse and make goals as a team when it comes to retirement, if you need help starting the conversation, meet with a financial planner who can outline your requirements and help you calculate how much you will need to save to retire comfortably.
In my life I’ve seen my mother and mother-in-law both make huge strides around improving their retirement security as they approached retirement through managing expenses, increased saving, education and good decision making.
Retirement planning is harder for women since they have considerations men don’t. These include caregiving, often fewer working years (due to children) and longer lives. However, if planned for in a savvy way, women can retire on time and in a comfortable and lower risk manner.
The keys are education, planning and setting goals to achieve which is all possible with the right information! Good luck and happy planning!
Do you feel happy with your retirement savings? If you had to help someone start on retirement planning, what would you tell them first? Have you used the services of a financial advisor? What was your experience? What do you think are the keys to saving enough for retirement? Please join the conversation below!
Stephen Chen is the founder and CEO of NewRetirement, a DIY retirement planning service focused on helping people create a financially secure retirement. NewRetirement was started based on his experience helping his mom prepare for her own retirement and seeing how complex and challenging it can be.