The classic picture of a couple retiring and the wife cashing in on the great retirement planning of the husband is a pretty picture for sure but it doesn’t always line up very well with reality. For thousands of women, seeing the retirement years ahead mean you will be making plans for retiring yourself. But even if you have a husband, it’s a good idea to look at retirement with the idea of what if you have to face it alone. It’s a sad statistic but women outlive men in general. So if you get to retirement or just before it and you find yourself facing that next transition of life, retirement looks a lot different through a woman’s eyes than when a man does the same preparation.
Saving up for retirement is something that is at least as important if not more important for women as it is for men preparing for the same time of their lives. And since women typically earn somewhat less than men during their careers, sitting down and thinking through the formula of how much to set aside for retirement should be a carefully considered act and one that is repeated frequently over the years to make sure you are on track.
This is especially true if your work is not in the conventional world of big business. If you make a good living running your own antique shop or as an entrepreneur as many women do, you have to think about your retirement planning yourself because you will not have the advantages of a company sponsored 401k plan to cash in on. So as soon as you feel you know that the way you make your living is not gong to change, start your saving and investing immediately.
On the other side of that equation, it might be worth taking a look at getting into a corporate situation entirely for the insurance and the retirement benefits. While there is often a “glass ceiling” in the business world, if you know why you are there which is to build a strong retirement planning package, you can leverage your position in the business world shrewdly and not have the stresses that many men endure in that same setting.
Above all, make it your private passion to learn all you can about investments and ways you can build your retirement portfolio. With the advent of internet trading, often a woman can start with very little and with some careful investing and conservative stock purchases, build up an impressive portfolio that can serve as an excellent retirement vehicle down the road.
Just as you may have done if you spent your working years in a family situation, you should look at how your money is used not only for the immediate value but as an investment down the road. It is often convenient to live in an apartment or rental property because when you are a working woman, upkeep on a home is a nuisance. And if you don’t like mowing the lawn and all of the other overhead of a home, that purchase may not fit your lifestyle.
Nonetheless, home ownership is one of the smartest ways to go about building equity in advance of retirement. You might look at buying a house as a big step toward financial independence in your retirement years. The way the tax laws are structured, you will get a lot of financial value out of home ownership and it can serve as the basis for further financial planning once your ownership of the home is secured. So take a second look at home ownership in a house with a yard and all of the trappings. If the overhead is too much to take on, you can often bring in renters or roommates who may enjoy that aspect of living in a house and you can cut them some slack on the rent if they take care of upkeep of the place.
By beginning to plan early in life for retirement later, women can do just as well as men in preparing for this important part of life. But you have to face the responsibilities of retirement planning squarely and not procrastinate on starting your investment and retirement portfolios far enough ahead that they will pay off later. If you do, you too can enjoy a peaceful and prosperous retirement years.