Essential Retirement Planning Advice All Women Need to Know


September 17, 2021

By Bridgelight Financial Advisors

Women have been making some seriously big moves recently and it’s not something that should be overlooked. Within the last few years, it’s been noted that on average women are receiving more college degrees than men, the percentage of women in executive level positions has shot up from 17% in 2015 to 21% in 2019, and women are continuing (and will continue) on that grind in order to keep narrowing down that wage gap every single day (1, 2). While these accomplishments are massive it’s important to note that women deal with significantly more obstacles than men when it comes to saving for their retirements. Making these strides in the workforce is one thing, ensuring that you feel comfortable during your retirement years is another.

Challenges Women Face

Let’s start with the obvious, although women have made significant advances in the fight for gender equality, women still earn only 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. This directly impacts the financial future for all women. Women also tend to receive lower pension and social security due to taking care of their children – on average, women spend 7 years away from work in order to raise their kids (3).  It’s also commonly known that women tend to become caretakers to aged parents and other family members during their retirement years which takes a serious bite out of their finances. This can add major emotional and financial stress to themselves and their family members. Finally, it’s widely known that women live longer than men, but have you thought about how this impacts a woman’s retirement years? Women tend to live an average of six to eight years longer than men making longevity risk a major factor in their retirement plans (4).

Overcoming the Hurdles

Although these hurdles seem massive and ominous, there are ways around them to ensure that your retirement comfortable and full. Getting to know and truly having a personal relationship with your financial advisor is a huge influence on how you grow and maintain your retirement savings. Consulting with your planner when needed and attending regular meetings will absolutely help keep your finances in order. Want to start putting your future in perspective right now? Here are a few things to start thinking about.

  1. Save – According to Fidelity Investments, you should aim to save at least three times your salary by age 40, eight times your salary by age 60, and ten times your salary by age 67 (5). This way you’re sure to keep yourself right on track. A major tip to saving your money is to spend less than you earn. Being mindful of this every single day is the secret to creating wealth. Instead of solely spending your money to make yourself feel good, do things that promote self-respect and creativity so you don’t seek those feelings through spending money.
  2. Invest – Don’t let the fear of investing hold you back! Taking the time to sit down and really learn about investing and saving for retirement with a professional is a tremendous benefit to your long-term plan and help you feel confident in the process. A great way to start investing is to invest in a 401(k) savings account as well as a Roth IRA, this way you’ll have a mix of tax-deferred and post-tax earnings in retirement. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, don’t worry. You have the option of opening a spousal IRA which allows a working spouse to contribute funds to a non-working spouse (6).
  3. Shed debt – It’s simple. There is absolutely no way to feel comfortable during your retirement years if you’re in debt – it’s the cardinal financial sin. Every dollar you owe reduces your income in retirement. So, make sure you pay off every penny. Additionally, if your adult children are still relying on you financially, they can hinder your savings greatly. Take the time to sit down with your kids and work out a plan to ween them off your financial assistance. Your financial advisor can be a great help with working out a strategic plan that works for you and your children.
  4. Don’t rely on other people – This is something everyone needs know. You cannot rely on anyone financially if you want your retirement to be successful. Independent financial security should be your goal. Whether it’s a family member, your significant other, or even your spouse… relying on someone else financially is a huge mistake. Take this time to educate yourself on money management and investment options so no matter what happens down the road, your future is secure and bright.

At Bridgelight Financial Advisors we make it one of our top priorities to ensure our clients are prepared in every way for retirement. If you are in need of a financial advisor that specializes in helping you make your retirement a successful one, our team at Bridgelight Financial Advisors would love to help you experience confidence in every aspect of your financial plan. Call (203) 795-7080, email Advice@BridgelightAdvisors.com, or schedule an appointment online to meet and get started.

About Bill

Bill Leavitt is the president of Bridgelight Financial Advisors, an independent, privately owned fiduciary financial advisory and financial planning firm. He specializes in working with pre-retirees, retirees, professionals, and women investors, helping them navigate a complicated and ever-changing investment landscape. With over 25 years of experience, Bill serves his clients using his own unique financial planning model, The Wealth Focus™ Process, where he helps clients develop their customized long-term wealth strategy in four comprehensive steps. A Connecticut native, Bill resides in southern Connecticut with his wife, Laura, and their three daughters. To learn more about Bill, connect with him on LinkedIn.

(1) https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/20/u-s-women-near-milestone-in-the-college-educated-labor-force/

(2) https://leanin.org/women-in-the-workplace-2019?gclid=Cj0KCQiAkePyBRCEARIsAMy5ScsZDaimuA9J_jzOBjZSNqs4JFINj9Od4Hzt8I2vCEucNXZkgwtRKkMaAvEkEALw_wcB

(3) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db168.htm

(4) https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/publications/women-and-retirement-savings.pdf

(5) https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/retirement/how-much-do-i-need-to-retire

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