Women are Less Prepared to Retire Than Men & What to do About itSubmitted by MIRUS Financial Partners on July 17th, 2017
You can't refute the facts. Overall, women are less prepared than men to retire.
- Women tend to start saving later, have lower earning potential, and have overall less savings than men.
- Women also tend to live longer, so they may need even more income in retirement than men.
- Many women are counting on a self-funded retirement.
As a financial professional, I know that the key to building good relationships is understanding each client’s unique situation and determining a strategy to meet their needs. When it comes to counseling women versus men, the latest study from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) reveals one of the most important facts: women’s median total household retirement savings are a mere 30% of men’s savings. Given that women tend to live longer than men, this savings gap is especially significant.
I partner with my female clients to figure out how to close this gap in order to be on their way to a better position for retirement is one of the most helpful things I can do as a financial professional. Of the eight steps TCRS provided to improve women’s retirement outlook, here are the ways you can make a bigger impact.
Start Saving Now and Save Consistently
The TCRS study found that while 72% of women are saving for retirement, they tend to get started two years later than men and usually have some catching up to do. Set up regular automatic transfers from your checking account to your retirement accounts so you don’t have to “remember to save.” If you are age 50 or over, you also qualify for higher annual contribution limits to your 401(k), 403(b), 457, or IRA accounts to help you get on track.
Take Advantage of Retirement Savings Programs Offered by Your Employer
Related, are you enrolled in your employer’s retirement program and getting the full match on their contributions (if a match is available.) And speaking of free money, make sure you are aware of savings incentives from the government like the Saver’s Credit.
You also can simplify your retirement portfolio by consolidating old accounts or rolling savings into an IRA. If an employer-based savings program isn’t available to you (as is often the case with part-time workers), talk to them about a self-funded retirement plan with IRAs, annuities, and other fixed-income products.
Know The Numbers
While both men and women surveyed by TCRS estimate they’ll need $500,000 in retirement, women are far more likely to have “guessed” at that figure (women 56% vs men 40%). A good financial professional can help you get an accurate estimate of how much money you’ll need. You’ll not only feel more confident but like any goal, retirement savings becomes more attainable once the actual numbers and financial strategy are known.
Encourage Ongoing Conversations About Finances and Retirement with Your Partner and Family
Money is usually the main source of stress in a relationship, but not talking about it makes it worse. Empower yourselves with your financial and retirement strategies, starting with daily expenses and budgeting, as well as your retirement goals.
Have a Fund for the Unexpected
The TCRS survey reported most men have at least $10,000 in median emergency savings, but most women have only $2,000, making women much less prepared for inevitable life upheavals like a job layoff or major medical bill. Like retirement savings, automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck into a savings account for emergencies until you’ve saved three to six months’ worth of expenses. This can help protect the balance (and earning potential) of retirement savings when unexpected expenses arise.