Much as been written about why women fall short compared to men in accumulating retirements savings: lower lifelong wages, more conservative investment strategies, in-and-out of the workplace for child-raising and eldercare, and fewer promotion opportunities, to name a few. Because of these disadvantages, women must focus on closing the savings gap so they can enjoy a retirement free of financial worries.
Here are some strategies that women can employ to ensure a successful retirement:
Max Out All Retirement Savings Opportunities
It’s worth it to cut out some discretionary spending to save more in retirement plans where you may get a tax deduction and always deferred taxes on earnings. Take full advantage of your company 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plans; contribute to a traditional IRA or Roth (if you can, there are rules); and if you’re self-employed, fully fund your SEP, Solo 401(k) or Defined Benefit Plan. If you are a salaried employee and also have a side-business, you can save in an employee retirement plan as well as a self-employed one.
Get Over Fear of Investing
Studies have shown that, on average, women invest more conservatively than men, problematic because it’s hard to beat inflation over time without adding money to stocks in the form of mutual funds, ETF’s or individual stocks. To get over the fear of investing, educate yourself, or hire a professional to help you manage your investments.
It’s hard to close the gap by just saving a few more dollars, especially as women get closer to retirement age. But, continuing to earn does have a significant impact. Early retirement is a dream of many, but it doesn’t always pencil out. If you can bear it, stay with that job for a few more years to ensure retirement security.
Plan to Take Social Security at Age 70
The longer you wait to take social security, the more you will receive in your monthly check; in fact, you will get an unbelievable 8% more each year. Holding out until age 70 is a tough one for many, but it just makes sense for most people.
Being savvy about the tax law or having a good accountant or financial advisor that can help is critical to saving more money over the years. You can use HSA’s (Health Savings Accounts), charitable giving strategies such as Donor Advised Funds, or tax-loss harvesting to save tax dollars and grow your retirement nest egg faster.
Employing these strategies can help close that persistent retirement savings gap!