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Planning Retirement? What We as Women Need to Know to Live Well

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women planning retirement: what we need to know Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

When it comes to preparing financially for retirement, there’s an obvious gender gap.

Women live longer, have lower lifetime earnings, and are more likely to outlive some retirement sources than men. And women tend to spend more for their health care — a lot more, according to a 2013 AARP Public Policy Institute report.

The report lays out a grim outlook for women preparing for, and living in, retirement but points out that with some shrewd moves and long term planning you can overcome some common financial obstacles.

The Gender Wage Gap

Despite attaining more higher education and degrees than men, women make considerably less — 77 cents for every dollar men make doing the same job, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a Washington, DC think tank.

This gender wage gap of 23 percent has lifelong consequences for women. They are less likely to qualify for pensions, and their lower career earnings result in Social Security benefits that are 78 percent of men.

These challenges suggest that women have to prepare even more carefully to ensure that they can live comfortably during retirement, said Nicole Middendorf.

Middendorf is a financial advisor and certified divorce financial analyst, and founder of Prosperwell Financial in Minnesota. She is the author of two financial advice books, including her latest, "Lipstick on the Piggy Bank: A financial advisor divulges the secrets every woman should know about happiness, money and independence."

“Women should start saving as early as they can for retirement. We women always put others – our kids, families and friends first, but this is the one time we need to put us first,” said Middendorf.

A general rule is that men should be saving 10 percent of their income for retirement and women 12 percent.

Women and men process money matters differently, Middendorf said. One common mistake women make when planning for the long-term is letting fear stand between them and a comfortable retirement.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Great Article. I talk to a lot of women who say they can't afford to start putting money away right now. My answer to them is that they will lose out on a lot of financial security if they neglect the simple tools that they have in front of them. Thanks for the perspective!

May 28, 2014 - 10:38am
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