“All working Americans need retirement savings, regardless of gender. However, the need is particularly strong for women, since they have a tendency to live longer than their male counterparts. Therefore, they're also more likely to require paid care at some point—since a spouse may not be around to provide care.”
Women have a statistically longer lifespan than men. It’s unsettling to learn that women save about half as much as men for retirement. This disparity could put women in a very bad position, when they are most vulnerable late in their lives, says The Motley Fool in its article “Why Are Women Only Saving Half as Much as Men for Retirement?”
When queried about why they think it is so difficult for women to save for retirement, most woman honestly said they are living from one paycheck to the next, with little to spare for savings. They are also paying back student loans. Men say much the same thing, so why is the average female saver saving so much less for her future?
In a recent Student Loan Hero study, women admit that they don’t know a lot about investment and retirement planning. Women are also more likely to take breaks in their careers to be caregivers, raising children and taking care of aging parents. This reduces their earnings. While some wage equity has been achieved and even made into law, most women do not earn the same as their male counterparts. Therefore, women face special challenges to their retirement savings.
What can be done to address the gap?
- Start by examining your budget and cutting unnecessary expenses.
- Make sure to maximize your employer’s 401(k) match.
- Fight for raises throughout your career. To gain more info on what your position is worth, use websites like Glassdoor’s “Know Your Worth” tool to compare salary data.
- Consider changing your investment approach. If you have steered clear of stocks over conservative vehicles like bonds, they may be a good way to catch up.
Finally, don’t forget that retirement includes estate planning. Sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney, who can help you prepare the necessary documents to protect you and your family. Make planning for retirement a priority. Your future self will appreciate it!
Reference: The Motley Fool (June 3, 2018) “Why Are Women Only Saving Half as Much as Men for Retirement?”