Despite feeling more empowered about investment planning and having more responsibility for financial decisions, concerns persist for many women especially around their level of preparedness for retirement. "Running out of money in retirement" is a worry that keeps 57% of women up at night and is the number one worry for single and divorced women.
Sarah Halpin, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Vice President-Investments of The Danforth Group of Wells Fargo Advisors talks about What makes it harder for women?
Longer Life Expectancy. The challenge of planning for the financial consequences of a potential 25 - 30 year retirement. According to National Center for Health Statistics, 30% of all women age 65 can expect to reach age 90. And, women on average live longer than men - about five years longer. And that means we typically need more money to see us through.
Savings handicaps. While some reports suggest the pay gap is narrowing in pockets of the country, according to the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics full time working women on a national average make only 81 cents for every dollar earned by men. Women tend to also spend less time on the job, because of family care taking responsibilities for children and elderly parents (or both). Women are also more likely to hold part time versus full time positions. Because of the part time work and/or fewer years in the work force, women are less likely to be covered by company retirement or pension plans. In turn, fewer working years means lower social security benefits. According to Social Security Administration, nearly 60% of the people receiving social security are women. While Social Security is a vital program, it was never intended to cover all of their financial needs. Ultimately, it's your savings discipline, not your salary makes the difference. Living within one's means and saving for the future are big parts of preparing for retirement - save early and consistently.
Being On Your Own. Statistics show that women have a very high probability of being on their own at some point in their financial lives as a result of a spouse or partner's death, a divorce or simply remaining single. For many, the death of a spouse or partner is accompanied by a decline in the standard of living. According to the Society of Actuaries, 85% of women over age 85 are widows, compared to 45% of men. When we talk about women "running out of money" in retirement, we're talking about women who are left as widows with social security as their primary income. According to the Social Security Administration, 4 out of 10 women over age 65 living alone depend on Social Security for all their income.
Rely on you to take care of you. Take time to understand your finances. Look at what you have earmarked to fund retirement. Look at your spending needs and determine if what you have is going to accomplish those needs. Very few people start saving for retirement the day they enter the job market but the earlier you start saving and planning the easier it will be to reach your goal. A retirement planning calculator can help, such as the Wells Fargo Quick View Calculator or the Ballpark Estimate from the American Savings Education Council.
Sources: www.wellsfargo.com/beyondtoday "Why women need to save more than men"
Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement www.wiserwomen.org
Social Security Administration www.ssa.gov