Retirement Planning Difficulties for Women
Women face significant difficulties when it comes to the gender gap, earnings, and retirement planning. However, the number of wealthy women in the United States is rising twice as fast as the number of wealthy men. Experts estimate that by 2030, women will control as much as two-thirds of the nation's wealth.
Despite this promising statistic, women outlive men by three to four years on average, and as a consequence, they represent a majority of older Americans. They have fewer years of work on average and lower earnings. In 2015, women earned just 80% of what men were paid. Earning less leads to a lower level of future Social Security benefits. In 2012, women over 65 received $12,520 in average Social Security income compared to $16,398 for men.
At age 65, average life expectancy is 18 years for American men and 20 years for women. Approximately 30% of women and 20% of men will survive to age 90. National survey data and simulation studies suggest that middle income households have not saved enough to meet all expected retirement expenses.
As with most things in life, retirement planning is slightly different for women than it is for men given the many challenges they face. To meet these challenges, women need to take a slightly different approach.
The most important thing is to start saving now. Although it's never too late to save for retirement, the sooner you start, the more time your investments have to grow.
Start contributing as soon as possible and as much as you can. Contributions are deducted directly from pay, and with an employer matching your contributions, you’d be wise to take advantage of that.
Unfortunately, it is a realistic concern for many women, that they will outlive their retirement savings.
Estimate how much income you'll need. Use your current expenses as a starting point, but note that your expenses may change by the time you retire.
Find out how much you can expect to receive from Social Security, pension plans, and other sources. What benefits will you receive should you become widowed or divorced?
Set a retirement savings goal that you can work toward, and keep track of your progress.
Save regularly, as much as you can, and then look for ways to save more - dedicate a portion of every raise, bonus, cash gift, or tax refund to your retirement savings.
Consider how you can help protect yourself and your family from potentially substantial long-term care expenses. By planning ahead, you could help preserve your choices for care and may avoid becoming a burden on your family.
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