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Top Ten Reasons Why Women Need to PLAN Their Retirement

Oct 10, 2007
Ladies, please do not take these lightly. These may not be for the faint of heart but they are extremely important. There is a great many articles on this subject, but here are 10 reasons in a nutshell for you to pay attention to NOW!

1: Take control of your future.

You will most likely be the surviving spouse. Or you may be divorced and single. Or you have always been single. Which ever is your reason, you are on your own. Do not wait for Prince Charming to come a whisk you away on his white horse. What if he never shows up? If you are the surviving spouse, where you part of the financial planning? You should be. This is YOUR life and you need to take control of it. None of you know where your futures lie, but wishing, hoping and praying that it will all work out is naive and will land you in big trouble.

2: Don't scoff at working women.

Women tend to spend less time in the workforce. The average women spends 15 years away, (raising children, caring for elderly parents) while the average man will be away for 1.6 years.

This means women have lower benefits from company pensions, 401(k) plans as well as Social Security benefits.

It appears women are "punished" for raising children and caring for elders. Remember, no wages equals no credits equals no Social Security. Our system is not kind to women.

3: Keep a keen eye on your income, savings and spending habits.

Of all the elderly persons with income levels below the poverty line, more than 70 % are women. If married, more than 1/2 were much better off financially before their husband died.

4: Make health benefits a priority.

Many women need to pay out of pocket for health insurance benefits. This may be due to spending less time in the workforce. Whatever the reason, it can be devastating to be without health insurance coverage.

5. Defer your Social Security benefits as long as possible.

Women need to wait as long as possible to collect Social Security benefits.

At this time 60 % of women choose to apply for Social Security at the earliest age possible, 62 years old.

Keep in mind, your Social Security retirement benefits are based on your 35 years of highest earnings. (If you don't have 35 years employment, they use a zero for each year without earnings. Working an extra year or 2 allows you to replace years lost, which increases your benefits.

If you go to www.socialsecurity.gov/planners you can calculate different retirement scenarios.

6: Hire a Financial Advisor

As much as you love to do things on your own and make important decisions by yourselves, this is a time to hand it over to an expert. Unless you have many extra hours to spend learning the ins and outs of the market, you will be only hurting yourself and your future. It's a good time to ask for help.

Ask your family and friends for someone they trust that has done well by them. For most of you, this is a task you need to let go of.

7: Working longer than you anticipated may be the key

Women may need to work longer to achieve a stable, livable retirement. One half of working women do not have access to pensions or company retirement plans. Many women don't earn enough to save in order to fund their retirement. The truth continues to be that women working full time still only earn 76 % o what men earn.

8: Baby Boomer women are the most educated in history.

Baby Boomer women are more likely to be divorced or never married than women in other generations. That in itself requires women to work more years. Although Baby Boomer women have more education and stronger workforce participation than earlier generation, being divorced or never married may create a deficit in retirement income.

9: Don't count of your home equity

Planning on converting the equity in your home into retirement income could back fire on you. Housing values are not always stable and tend to either level off or decline. Although equity in your home may provide additional monies to your nest egg, don't make it your primary funding source.

10: Be healthy minded NOW

Keep on top of your health now, not later. Exercise, eat well and get all the necessary annual medical check ups you need. How you take care of yourself now may be the crystal ball of your future.

According to AARP 62 % of women in the country do not have long term retirement plans.. Don't let this be you! Policy makers have ignored the needs of Baby Boomer women and largely ignored the plight they are in when approaching retirement. This is true primarily for those without enough resources to fun their 3rd age.
About the Author
Kim Kirmmse Toth is a certified life coach. She works with baby boomers on the many transitions faced including the non-financial side of retirement planning. She may be contacted at: kim@myretirementbydesign.com or at her website: http://www.myretirementbydesign.com
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