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Women & Planning For Retirement

Susan Bruno (divacfo.com), Big4.com Guest Blogger

We ladies face special challenges when planning for retirement. Because our careers are often put on hold to care for children or elderly parents, we may spend less time at work and earn less money than our male coworkers. As a result, our retirement plan balances, Social Security benefits, and pension benefits are often
lower. In addition to earning less, women generally live longer than men, and face having to stretch limited retirement savings and benefits over many years. To meet these financial challenges, you’ll need to make retirement planning a priority.

Ditch The Excuses

“I’m too busy to plan.”

We know about being busy. Perhaps you’re so wrapped up in balancing your responsibilities that you haven’t given retirement planning much thought. That’s understandable, but if you don’t put retirement planning at the top of your to-do list, you risk short changing yourself later on. Staying focused on your goal of saving for a comfortable retirement is difficult, but if you put yourself first it will really pay off in the end.

“My husband takes care of our finances.”

Married or not, it’s CRITICAL for women to take an active role in planning for retirement. Otherwise, you may be forced to make important financial decisions quickly
during a period of crisis (the 5D’s ladies!). Unfortunately, decisions that are not well thought through often prove costly later. Preparing for retirement with your spouse will help ensure that you’re both provided for, and pave the way to a worry-free retirement.

“I’ll save more once my children are through college.”

Many well-intentioned parents put their own retirement savings on hold while they save for their children’s college education. But if you do so, you’re potentially sacrificing your own financial security. Your children have many options when it comes to financing college–loans, grants, and scholarships, for example–but there’s no such thing as a retirement loan! Why not set a good example for your children by getting your own finances in order before contributing to their college fund?

“I don’t know enough about investing.”

Commit to spending just a few minutes a day learning the basics of investing, and you’ll become knowledgeable in no time. And remember, you don’t have to do it by yourself–a financial professional will be happy to work with you to set retirement goals and help you choose appropriate investments

Begin Saving Now

To maximize your chances of achieving a financially secure retirement, start with a realistic assessment of how much you’ll need to save. If the figure is substantial, don’t be discouraged–the most important thing is to begin saving now. Although it’s never too late to save for retirement, the sooner you start, the more time your investments have to grow. The chart below shows how just $2,000 invested annually at a 6% rate of return might grow over time:

Susan Bruno (CPA/PFS, CFP, CIC) is a private wealth specialist creating distinct and customized solutions for high-net-worth individuals; she also runs a blog to raise financial literacy among women (divacfo.com).

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