Men are from Mars and women from Venus. So says the famous book. Well, when it comes to retirement, men and women often have very different needs. For starters, research shows that women are better investors than men. Why? Because women are less likely to feel overconfident in their investment decisions and therefore tend to make fewer changes to their portfolios. Women, however, have a unique set of retirement issues that often make them more vulnerable than men. The issues that women face can make it harder for them to have an enjoyable retirement without careful planning. These problems include among others:
1. Longer life expectancy. Women live longer on average than men. This means that they should plan to make their savings last longer as well. A 65-year-old woman can expect to live about 2.5 years longer than a 65-year-old man. Depending on your expenses, this can be a significant sum of money. Overall, women live nearly 5 years longer than men according to the US Census Bureau. Since women tend to live longer, this means they are more likely to live on their own later in life and therefore will likely have to pay for all expenses themselves rather than sharing those expenses with a spouse.
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2. Caring for an aging parent. It’s no surprise that the person most likely to care for an aging parent is their daughter. 61% of caregivers are women compared to 39% men according to AARP. Worse still, almost half of these women had a negative effect on their own finances. The number of family caregivers increased by 10 million between 2015 and 2020. Worse still, 6% more are caring for more than one person. This data tells me that the financial burden placed on these women will continue to increase dramatically in the years to come. According to the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, women age 50 and older who quit their jobs to care for an aging parent lose an average of $324,000 in wages.
3. Women generally work fewer years than men because they are raising a family, etc., resulting in less savings in retirement plans. Less savings and a longer life expectancy can mean a much less secure retirement.
4. Women generally receive less social security due to fewer working years and gender pay inequality. As a result, women receive on average nearly $4,000 a year less than men, according to the Social Security Administration. Deferring benefits could help offset some of this drop in income assuming you have enough savings to wait to collect your benefits.
So what can women do to help secure their retirement? To get started, meet with a financial planner to discuss your retirement goals. Having a good understanding of what you want to look like in retirement is the key first step.
Then look for ways to maximize your retirement savings. Increase your contribution rates each year, even by a small amount.
Try to delay collecting Social Security benefits to maximize your income. Your planner can help you with these calculations to see when might be the best time to collect.
Finally, look to contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA), if possible, to mitigate the potentially higher medical costs that come with increased longevity.
Women have unique challenges in retirement and so should plan their own strategy instead of simply following conventional wisdom.
Securities offered by Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered by Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), a subsidiary of Kestra IS. Reich Asset Management, LLC is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. It is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations to anyone. We suggest that you consult your financial professional, lawyer or tax advisor regarding your personal situation. To view the CRS form, visit https://bit.ly/KF-Disclosures.