Women have indeed come along way, but according to a new survey, they are still today at greater risk of not achieving a financially secure retirement than men.
“Despite the progress that women have made in terms of educational attainment and career opportunities, the gender pay gap persists. Over the course of a 30- or 40-year career, the gender pay gap can lead to an even greater retirement savings gap. Ironically, women typically live longer than men which means that we need to save even more,” Catherine Collinson, president of Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS), told FOX Business.
And that’s not the only obstacle facing women on the road to retirement, according to TCRS’ 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers.
“Women are also more likely than men to take time out of the workforce for parenting and/or caregiving for an aging parent. While this labor of love is priceless, it comes at a cost in terms of lost income, benefits, and retirement savings. Not to mention that it’s difficult to find a job after an extended absence from the workforce,” she said.
But there is good news. Collinson said it is never too late to start, and offered four steps for working women -- of any age -- who may have stayed out of the family finances and retirement planning until now.
Develop a retirement strategy and write it down. Envision your future retirement and use an online calculator to estimate your long-term savings needs. Then formulate a goal for how much you will need to save each year (be sure to include employer-sponsored retirement plans and outside savings) – and hold yourself accountable for saving.
Be in the game. Become personally involved in your family finances, ranging from daily budgeting to long-term planning. Discuss retirement saving and planning with trusted loved ones.
Stay in the game, as much as possible. Factor the financial implications of taking time out of the workforce if confronted with the need to care for an aging parent. A woman should consider enlisting the help of other family members to share in the caregiving responsibilities so she can continue working at least part-time, earning income and saving for retirement.
Plan B. Have a backup plan in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as separation, divorce, loss of a partner, health issues, or being unable to work before your planned retirement.
She also said working women today need to remember to take care of … themselves.
“TCRS survey findings help illustrate steps that working women can and should be taking to improve the likelihood of a longer working life, but that many aren’t doing yet. For example: Just 62 percent of working women are focused on staying healthy; fifty-four percent of working women are performing well at their current job; and, [just] forty-two percent of working women are keeping their job skills up to date,” said Collinson, asking “shouldn’t these survey responses be closer to 100 percent?”