Live Longer and Prosper! 7 Retirement Planning Tips for Women
You probably know that women have a longer life expectancy than men, but did you know that there are 105 males born for every 100 females to compensate? Women have a longer retirement than men, so start now to plan for it.
A Longer Retirement with Fewer Assets
While women get to enjoy a few more years of life, they also have a number of special considerations to factor into planning for retirement. All things considered, the average woman has a longer retirement than the average man.
Their lifetime compensation tends to be lower due to the wage gap and shorter careers due to caring for their children as well as increasingly caring for their parents. Women also tend to invest more conservatively, leading to lower returns on their savings. So overall, they have longer retirements and typically have fewer assets at retirement.
A longer retirement isn’t troubling on its own. There’s more time to pursue things that might have put off. What makes it risky is that many women aren’t financially prepared for the years that lie ahead.
What’s more troubling is that many women don’t retire early by choice. Many become caregivers for an aging spouse or parent, and many others simply lose their jobs, according to Forbes.
Retirement planning isn’t solely the domain of men or couples. Women need to approach it vigorously, too. To get on the right track, here are seven tips that can make all those encore years more secure. That rainy day may be coming faster than you think!
Here are a few retirement planning tips for women who want to live longer and prosper.
Start Saving ASAP
No matter how young you are, it’s never too soon to start planning for retirement. According to a Wells Fargo study, only 9% of women aged 22 to 33 years are saving 10% or more of their income. In contrast, more than 25% of men in the same age group save at the same rate.
Regardless of Your Earnings, Save Part of Your Income
In the Wells Fargo study, men earned more money, which is not surprising. But waiting for the right income level can shave years off your retirement savings potential. No matter what you earn, and no matter how little you can save, begin now. You can always increase the percentage when you earn more.
Get Educated About Retirement Planning
According to CNBC, women who learn about finances tend to put that knowledge to use and turn their situation around. The more you know, the better your chances of getting on track and staying there.
Work Towards Paying off Debt and Stay Debt Free
Debt is a huge burden that many women carry. Student loan debt is a big one – even for older workers. But the faster you can pay off debt, the sooner you can direct that money toward retirement savings.
Consider Hiring a Financial Planner
Your financial situation might not support hiring a financial planner, but you never know until you try. Some charge high fees and/or only serve wealthy clients. But they aren’t the only ones on the block. You might not have as much to work with as your male counterparts but women are often more prudent investors; a financial planner can help grow your money with sound investments.
Keep Working as Long as You Can
The longer you can put off retirement, the more money you’ll have to save and the less time you’ll have to rely on your savings. You’ll also qualify for full Social Security benefits if you wait. At age 62, you’ll qualify for 70% of the monthly benefit. If you wait until 65, you’ll get 86.7%. But if you wait just a little longer, until your 67th birthday, you’ll receive the full monthly benefit. Finally, if you can wait until 70 you’ll receive 132% of your full monthly benefit.
There are a lot of retirement years to plan for. And unlike men, women tend to reach retirement without as solid a plan. You can change all of that by starting today.
Consider How You Will Handle Different Scenarios
What if you live a very long time, outlive your partner, travel or decide to make a big life change?
Your savings is the most important thing you can do to secure the future. No matter where you work, how much you earn or how many years you have left until retirement, you can take control and chart a better course than the one you might be on.
How are you planning for retirement? Do you save a part of your income regardless of how much you earn? Have you thought about how you would manage different unexpected scenarios? What retirement planning tips can you share with the other women in our community? Please join the conversation!
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.