Sunday, July 27, 2014
Fnancial planning issues that tend to affect women
On average, women live longer than men and are paid less, and there are still other financial planning issues that tend to affect women more significantly.
Lower pay is a key issue. Despite gains by women in the workforce, on average, women are still paid 77 cents on men’s dollar. Over a lifetime, that can add up to $500,000. Women are also more likely to leave the workforce temporarily to raise children or to care for an ailing parent. While their jobs may be protected in such situations, they are often only offered unpaid leave. In addition to that loss of income, the time off work can reduce any pensions and 401(k) contributions and lower the amount the worker pays into Social Security for retirement benefits.
Among those who reach the age of 65, women see a life expectancy two years longer than men’s. Married women tend to outlive their spouses by about three years. While a long life is a blessing, it often includes a longer retirement, which needs proper planning. Women nearing retirement age may want to consider putting off retirement for a year or two to add to their savings and maximize their contribution to Social Security.
In addition to longevity and pay, women also tend to invest more conservatively than men. Of course, conservative investment strategies avoid the risk of loss in a volatile market, but one can certainly invest too conservatively. The key is to diversify one’s investments. Just as all one’s assets should not be invested in the stock market, neither should it all be in cash. A diverse portfolio can provide protection from loss as well as a good return on investment.
Finally, many women planning retirement do not feel well-served by the financial planning industry. In a survey, women ranked financial planners dead last among 60 industries (even below used car salesmen), saying they feel that advisers talk down to them or do not address their issues.
Awareness of these issues is half the battle in addressing them. A good retirement plan and estate plan, combined with careful attention to saving, can result in a comfortable and secure retirement for any person, regardless of gender.