Women are at a financial disadvantage when it comes to retirement, with only 12 percent of women reporting they are “very confident” they’ll retire with a comfortable lifestyle, as compared to 24 percent of men, finds a Transamerica study. Researchers found nearly half of women are “not too confident,” as compared to 31 percent of men who feel the same.
Women have a multitude of factors stacked up against them, including the pay wage gap and the fact they are more likely to work part-time, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late.
Through their study, Transamerica has 11 tips for women to take control of their retirement. They are:
1. Create a budget that includes income, living expenses, paying off debt, and financial goals such as building short-term savings and long-term retirement savings.
2. Start saving for retirement and get into the habit of saving on a regular, consistent basis. Save as much as you can, knowing that both small and large amounts add up over time.
3. Consider retirement benefits as part of total compensation when evaluating employment opportunities.
4. If your employer offers a retirement plan, participate. Take advantage of employer matching contributions, if available. Take advantage of the IRS Saver’s Credit, if eligible. Consider making catch-up contributions if you are age 50 or older.
5. Develop a retirement strategy and write it down. Envision your future retirement and use an online calculator to estimate your long-term savings needs. Then formulate a goal for how much you will need to save each year – and hold yourself accountable for saving.
6. Carefully consider the financial trade-offs and options when facing life’s important decisions about whether to reduce work hours or take time out of the workforce to be a parent or caregiver.
7. Maintain your ability to continue working past age 65. Keep your job skills up to date and in step with employers’ needs.
8. Become personally involved in your family finances ranging from daily budgeting to long-term planning. Discuss retirement saving and planning with family and close friends.
9. Get educated about retirement investing. Learn about possible ways to help make savings last longer including when to take withdrawals from retirement accounts to minimize taxes and penalties, and the best time to start Social Security to maximize benefits. Seek professional assistance if needed.
10. Have a backup plan in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as separation, divorce, loss of a partner, or being unable to work before your planned retirement. Consider emergency savings, insurance products such as disability insurance and life insurance, and possibly ways to cut costs if needed.
11. Take good care of yourself and safeguard your health. Consider the long-term health implications when making lifestyle decisions.