We all wish for a long healthy life. But if we want to live long, we will be spending many years in retirement and we need money to take us through those years fulfilling our needs and wants. In case of a woman, retirement is a whole new ball game as there are different challenges and issues to tackle.
A survey of over 7000 women across 15 countries was conducted by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) and the financial services firm Aegon on the topics of career, financial security and managing home and work. One of the main results was that women are at greater risk of a financially insecure retirement.
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How retirement is different in the case of women
Longevity – Women on an average live longer than men. In India, life expectancy for men is 65 years and for women is 68 years. This means, women live for more years post retirement and it is more important for them to plan their retirement well.
Take time off work – Today women are earning income and are self-sufficient in many ways. But they are also the ones to leave their jobs or take a backseat in their career when it comes to family conditions like childbirth, medical emergency, caregiving to the young, the old and the sick. This means their earning potential is affected and if this happens too may times or for too long a period, their retirement funding can go awry.
Part-time work/ Freelancing – Many women work in part-time jobs or freelancing assignments. These are good methods to earn money, do what interests you and have a balance between career and family. But these generally do not pay as much as a steady job or a running a business. Such assignments do not take care of pension or health insurance. It is important for women to be aware of the same and ensure that they plan finances to secure their retirement.
Retirement is not at the top of their mind – Women are not financially prepared for retirement due to many reasons. Some of them are not confident of planning their finances. Some of them are not interested in it and want to do it at a later point of time or depend on their spouse. Some believe they will work forever. Some of them are too busy with other things, that retirement planning is not a focus area. Many feel they are not knowledgeable in these matters and invest just in bank deposits. But considering inflation, lifestyle changes and rising medical expenses, investing in bank deposits is not enough. They need to have a proper financial plan with investment allocation across different types of assets to earn better returns and risk management.
Social conditions – Let’s face it, society treats women differently. Women get married earlier which can sometimes hamper their career growth. Women are expected to take up more family responsibilities which can also put their career on the backseat. In the corporate world, women on an average get paid less compared to their male counterparts for the same work, role or designation. Over a long period, this is a significant loss. Women marry men who are older than them. Women’s longevity is also more than men. So when they are old, they are alone for a longer period of time which means they have to fund more for their retirement.
Must Read: Is Rs 1 crore enough to retire?
As a woman, here are some steps to have a financially secure retirement
- You should have your retirement goals in the financial plan and invest towards reaching those goals. You should calculate the amount you need to fund your retirement needs taking into consideration your earnings, lifestyle expenses, medical costs and post-retirement activities and lifestyle. Then you should have an investment plan to reach this number.
- You should read about finance, increase your knowledge on money matters so that you can make informed decisions and learn to manage personal finances.
- You should take care of your health so that you are fit for as long as possible as being unwell drains finances apart from other problems.
- If you are working, try to get a job with a company that offers retirement benefits or contribute in EPF,NPS or superannuation.
- You should have medical insurance and disability insurance and invest in financial products so that retirement needs are taken care of.
- If your husband is managing family finances & investments, still discuss with him to understand where you stand in comparison to your goals
Women have a higher risk of outliving their finances and it is important to manage this risk by planning retirement properly. Please share your experience or ideas…