Retirement planning for women’s unique retirement needs

October 23, 2014 | Alliant Credit Union

An article for women and the women in your life.

A basic goal for retirement investing is to make sure you save enough to make your money last throughout your lifetime. On this score, women may need to save more than men. The current life expectancy of a female at birth is almost 81 years, compared with 76 years for a male. The upshot: women typically need their money to last five years longer than men.

Of course, keep in mind that life expectancy statistics are only averages. Many individuals live much longer than the average – or less. Today, it’s common for an individual’s retirement to last at least 20 or 30 years. The length of your career has a bearing on how much time you have to build retirement assets. Many women take time off from the workforce to take care of family responsibilities, such as caring for children or aging parents. During those years, they may not be adding to their retirement portfolio. For instance, when you take time off from work, you do not accrue credits that determine your Social Security benefits.

Estimating how much you’ll need. Be sure to capitalize on the benefits available to you, such as participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan or funding an IRA so you’ll build the assets needed for your later years. Don’t underestimate how much you may need or the importance of ongoing contributions to retirement accounts that build assets over time. Although there are no guarantees, the longer you stay invested, the more likely it is that your contributions may benefit from compound interest and earn more.

A financial consultant can help you calculate how much you are likely to need for your later years. Be sure to factor in how you will pay for health care expenses not covered by Medicare or other medical insurance. When totaling up your sources of retirement income, log on to or review your annual statement to estimate your retirement benefit from Social Security. If you find that your retirement assets are coming up short, you may want to delay retirement or save more while you continue to work.

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