Retirement is something that everyone should be thinking about. In fact, no matter how old you are, your retirement funds should be present in your thoughts, at least to some degree. Statistics say that very few are properly prepared for retirement, and if you want to buck the trend and live comfortably in your autumn years, taking control of the situation is a sooner-rather-than-later deal. After all, if you want the freedom to have fun and enjoy life when you’re officially retired, you’ll want to be putting the money away now, not tomorrow.
But here is a factor you may not have previously considered. Women need to prepare for retirement more vigilantly than men, and for a number of reasons. From the obvious fact that women live longer than men by, on average, 5 years, to the unfortunate reality that women still earn less than men.
The Hard Facts
Fran Troskie, a research analyst at RisCura, stated that the reality doesn’t seem to have hit home in many cases. The hard fact is that women simply need to have saved more for retirement. But, beyond that fact, the circumstances in which the earnings must be made are tougher, and more demanding. She pointed out, first and foremost, that research has confirmed that the average middle earner women still earn less than men, by as much as 27%. Shockingly, in terms of the top earner bracket, women earned less than men by as much as 39%.
But this is only scratching the surface. Women also still handle the majority of the responsibility of raising children, which in turn means that there are less office hours available in which to earn retirement funds. Maternity leave is a reality that simply cannot be ignored, which adds to the already challenging situation. According to Troskie, this is one of the biggest factors that will impact the level of retirement that the average women can expect to enjoy.
No Easy Answer
So the challenges involved are clear to see, but what is the answer to this dilemma? How can women looking to have comfortable retirement turn the situation back in her favour? Troskie stated simply that there is no easy answer, but there are a few things that can be taken into account to help ease the situation. She provided a few simple tips that could make all the difference, as although winning big when playing Roulette may help, it’s not something that every woman can base their retirement plans on!
First and foremost, she pointed out that starting early is one of the biggest game changers that could be made. Start saving as early as possible, and stick to savings plan at all costs. She added to this that early retirement is a common trap that can be fallen into. The more years of work, the more retirement funds available, it’s an easy equation.
Troskie went on to point out that given the discrepancy in earnings, women should be putting aside a higher percentage than men. The standard rule of thumb is to put aside 15%, but that percentage should really be 20% in the case of a female earner.
Last, and perhaps the most important of all, is that long term financial planning is not just a good idea, it is absolutely essential. Putting down on paper what the financial goals are in the long term brings a much-needed clarity for the future, and creates achievable goals that should be aimed for. If a detailed retirement plan has not already been created, it should be created as soon as possible, updated regularly, and stuck to at all costs.