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12 Challenges Women Face When Planning For Retirement

Ryan Gilmore

Today marks International Women’s Day, celebrating the great accomplishments of women across the globe. Historically and generally speaking, women have had to deal with far more hurdles regarding their retirement planning than their male counterparts. These hurdles are not new, but they are worth noting.

Women’s Retirement Planning Challenges

In their book, Your Complete Guide to a Successful & Secure Retirement, authors Larry Swedroe and Kevin Grogan set forth what they believe to be the 12 biggest issues facing women and retirement planning today:
  1. Women earn less on average than men.
  2. Women live longer on average than men.
  3. Women typically have fewer years of earned income.
  4. Women typically begin investing later than men.
  5. Women are typically less confident about their personal finance and investing skills than men.
  6. Women are typically less aggressive investors than men.
  7. Women are typically less satisfied with financial advisory services
  8. Women are more likely to bear the brunt of the “Sandwich Generation” – Simultaneously caring for children and elderly parents.
  9. Women are more subject to elder abuse than men.
  10. Divorced women tend to face unique challenges and obstacles.
  11. Women are less likely than men to remarry after “gray divorce” (divorcing after decades of marriage) or becoming widowed later in life.
  12. Women are statistically more likely to die single, divorced, or widowed

The Solution

The solutions that Swedroe and Grogan propose to the issues noted can be boiled down to one word: education! When people are educated about personal finance, investing and retirement planning, they can make better decisions. Better decisions can lead to more confidence. Knowing what you have is important. Knowing why you have what you have is far more important. As people come to us, we see that education about what and why people have what they have is not a one-sided gender issue. Males, too, have this problem. The main difference (again, generally speaking) is that men tend to mask their lack of knowledge with overconfidence. Overconfidence is a form of ego risk, a sub-form of behavioral risk, and can lead to devastating effects on your retirement. When people come to us our primary goal is to help them understand what they have, why they have it, and the impact it will have on their retirement goals. On this International Women’s Day, we encourage women and men alike to revisit their financial situation, check for understanding, and ask questions as they arise. If you need clarification, we’re here to help. Education is key to a successful, secure, and empowered retirement.

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