Today I’m talking about a big challenge many women are facing and that is lack of financial security during their retirement years.
I came across a report, titled, Nineteen Facts About Women And Retirement, that has some pretty disturbing data about women and their retirement outlook. It also has great suggestions for what we can do to be better prepared.
This article really spoke to me because, like many women, I did not plan properly for my future. I was not taught how to manage money or plan for retirement when I was growing up and I became concerned about it and went to see a financial planner, she told me she couldn’t help me — it was too late. And that was before the economic crash of 2006. I was in real estate at the time, and my plan was to live very frugally and sock money away for retirement — to make up for lost time…and then the real estate market tanked.
My knowledge and use of the Universal Spiritual Principles got me through it though. I chose to shift my perception and see it as an opportunity to do something new that I would absolutely love. I had faith that there was something better for me. I even felt grateful that at least I hadn’t lost much. I thought about the people who had prepared for retirement and lost it all and how that would be even more devastating.
I know many women over 60 who are not adequately prepared for retirement. If you’re in this position, I hope this podcast episode will give you the encouragement and information you need to turn that situation around. As a Dream Builder Coach I know you can do it.
The report is titled, Nineteen Facts About Women And Retirement, and it’s from the 19th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of American Workers of November 2019.
The stated purpose of the annual report is to “raise your awareness of the risks that women face and highlight opportunities to improve their retirement outlook.”
First, here’s a little background and some disclosures about the report.
The report is by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) which is a division of Transamerica Institute® (The Institute), a nonprofit, private foundation. TCRS is dedicated to educating the public on emerging trends surrounding retirement security in the United States. Its research emphasizes employer-sponsored retirement plans, including companies and their employees, retirees and the implications of legislative and regulatory changes.
The Institute is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties.
TCRS and its representatives cannot give ERISA, tax, investment or legal advice. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as ERISA, tax, investment or legal advice. Interested parties must consult and rely solely upon their own independent advisors regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented here.
Although care has been taken in preparing this material and presenting it accurately, TCRS disclaims any express or implied warranty as to the accuracy of any material contained herein and any liability with respect to it.
For more information about TCRS, go to www.transamericacenter.org
About the Survey
The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) has been conducting this survey since 1998. The goals for the study are to illuminate emerging trends, promote awareness, and help educate the public. It has grown to be one of the longest running and largest national surveys of its kind.
To see the full report, and fancy pie charts and learn about the methodology used you can go to the website.
Now for the report…it begins as follows:
Today’s women are better educated and enjoy career opportunities that were unimaginable 50 years ago. Despite this progress, women continue to lag behind men in terms of saving and planning for retirement.
A woman’s path to a secure retirement is filled with obstacles, such as lower pay and time out of the workforce for parenting or caregiving, which can negatively impact her long-term financial situation.
Statistically, women tend to live longer than men, which implies an even greater need to plan and save.
This marks the 14th consecutive year that nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies has published research illustrating how women are at a greater risk of not achieving a financially secure retirement compared with men, and how women can take action to help mitigate that risk.
The goal of this research is two-fold: 1) to raise awareness of the retirement risks that women are facing, and 2) highlight opportunities for women to take greater control of their finances and their future.
We hope that you will share our research and recommendations. Please join us in spreading the word to inspire more women to take steps to improve their retirement outlook. Timely actions taken today can lead to better outcomes tomorrow, and ultimately enable women to achieve a more secure retirement.
Now, here are the facts from the report for you to consider.
1. Only 12 percent of women are “very confident” that they will be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle.
Only 12% !!!
2. Women are dreaming of an active retirement, including traveling (67 percent),
Can you relate? I’ve found this to be a common dream with the women I work with.
59 percent listed, spending more time with family. and friends, 44 percent pursuing hobbies, 28 percent volunteering, and 26 percent, working.
I think it’s remarkable that 28 percent want to spend time volunteering and 26 percent plan to keep working. I’m definitely one of those. In fact, I see my business as incorporating volunteering because I produce a lot of free content and coaching and I donate to groups that have a similar mission to mine of helping women have better lives.
3. 55 percent of women expect to retire after age 65 or do not plan to retire. In other words they are retiring fairly late if at all.
Is that because they can’t afford to fully retire or because they love their work so much? I hope it would be from choice rather than necessity and that they would be totally happy while doing it.
4. 54 percent of women plan to work after they retire, either full-time (12 percent) or part-time (42 percent).
Again, I would hope that that would be fulfilling and a choice that they love.
5. Among women who plan to work past age 65 and/or in retirement, more cite doing so for financial reasons (84 percent) than healthy-aging related reasons (69 percent).
So this is not good news. But if you have to work for financial reasons, at least it can be something you love and something that provides a good work life balance — that is, what we call in DreamBuilding, “time and money freedom”.
Some people work so much for money they don’t have enough free time, or they have lots of free time but not enough money. So as DreamBuilders we want to choose to have both time and money freedom and not settle.
6. Some women are not being proactive enough to work past age 65. Only 48 percent say they are staying healthy.
I thought it was so interesting that the report factored in health. Have you ever discussed the importance of a healthy lifestyle with a financial advisor? They may have mentioned the need for health insurance and long-term care insurance, but that’s kind of like treating the symptoms rather than the disease, isn’t it?
This is why in the DreamBuilder Program, we include health as one of the important domains of life to focus on…in fact it comes first because everything else in your life is affected by your health and energy levels.
The report goes on to say that “44 percent women are focused on performing well at their current job,” and only “39 percent are keeping their job skills up to date.”
That surprised me because with our modern technology changing all the time, it seems like one would have to do something to keep up to date in order to not be replaced by younger employees. As we say in DreamBuilding, the universe is always urging us to grow, to expand, to do more and be more.
7. Slightly more than half of women are taking key steps to protect their long-term health, including eating healthfully (56 percent), exercising regularly, seeking medical attention when needed, and getting plenty of rest (53 percent).
Wow! Only a little more than half?!! Why is that? I don’t think it’s because they don’t know how or don’t understand the importance so why is it?
I’d love to know what you think. I hope you will post in the comments on the webpage for episode #20. The subject of health will be the topic of future podcasts because, like I said, health is one of the four domains of life that we focus on in DreamBuilding. And the good news is that the Dream Builder system is very effective at getting results.
8. 31 percent of women are or have been caregivers during their working careers, and nearly all of them made at least one work-related adjustment as a result of caregiving, such as using vacation or sick days (38 percent) or missing work (36 percent).
Yep, we are programmed to be the caretakers aren’t’ we. Men are starting to take on more of the responsibility nowadays but women tend to put others’ needs ahead of their own — and to their own detriment.
One of the mindsets in DreamBuilding is “increasing a sense of deserving.” This might inspire women to require others to help with care-taking responsibilities, demand higher pay so they can hire help, and to make their health and rest a priority.
9. Paying off debt is a financial priority for almost two-thirds of women (65 percent). Only 49 percent of women cite saving for retirement as a priority.
Yes, debt is a huge problem in the U.S. That could be another podcast in itself. I’d love to see in the comments what you think the reason for this is.
And why do less than half of the women make saving for retirement a priority? Is it because they don’t have a clear vision? Or is it because they don’t make enough money? I know these issues can be fixed but I imagine they don’t know that or they would be doing it. What do you think?
10. 32 percent of women expect Social Security to be their primary source of retirement income
Wow! I’m glad it’s only 32 percent, but that’s still a lot of women. Their time and money freedom is going to be very limited on social security. They will need to keep working part time in order to save for emergencies and what will happen when they can’t work anymore? I wonder if they have a clear idea what their Social Security income will be and precisely how much they will need to cover expenses. Are they settling for a restricted lifestyle because they don’t think they have any other choices? What do you think?
11. 68 percent are saving for retirement through a workplace plan and/or outside of work in an IRA, mutual fund, bank account, etc. Women who are saving for retirement started doing so at age 27 (median).
These are the women who are well set to have time and money freedom. Good for them. I hope they are also paying attention to their health so they can enjoy their retirement and that they will find new sources of meaning and fulfillment after they retire and not feel adrift because of not having their career. This is a common issue for men and I think it is an issue for some women who have had demanding careers.
12. 61 percent of women are offered a 401(k) or similar employee-funded retirement plan. However, 30 percent of women work part-time so are less likely to have workplace retirement benefits.
The 30 percent need to save on their own to have retirement benefits. I would hope their part-time work is lucrative enough for them to do that or that they have husbands who are creating a living trust for them. I’ve known women who assumed their husbands were taking care of their future and who were left in dire financial straits after their husband died.
13. Among women who are offered a 401(k) or similar plan, 73 percent participate in the plan and they contribute 8 percent (median) of their salary to the plan. I wonder why the rest don’t. Any ideas?
14. Women’s total household retirement savings is only $23,000 (estimated median). That is not going to go very far. Consider the cost of dental care and car repairs for starters.
15. Women believe that they will need to save $500,000 (median) in order to feel financially secure in retirement; among those who estimated their savings needs, 54 percent say they “guessed.”
Wow! More than half guessed?! Well at least they picked a nice big number. The only downside of that is that they may see it as not attainable and be too overwhelmed to try. Why did they guess? What do you think? I know I did that for awhile. I didn’t know how to adjust for inflation and I think, on some level, I just didn’t want to look at it because I would get discouraged. My idea was to just keep trying to make more money and I would look at it later.
16. Only 15 percent of women have a written retirement strategy, and 42 percent have an unwritten strategy.
If people only understood the power of vision and having a written vision statement! This is why I’m so passionate about DreamBuilder coaching. Just having a plan and some guidance can make such a huge difference!!!
And speaking of guidance…
Number 17 says that only 37 percent of women use a professional financial advisor to help manage their retirement savings and investments.
Why only 37? Any ideas?
18. Just 29 percent of women are aware of the Saver’s Credit, a tax credit for saving for retirement.
I’m surprised…I would think their tax preparer would let them know about that. Who is doing their tax preparation. Am I missing something here?
19. Few women (14 percent) frequently discuss saving, investing, and planning for retirement with family and close friends.
Maybe this doesn’t matter. It would depend on whether family and friends were savvy about financial planning. But at the very least, they could talk to family and close friends in order to get a referral to a reputable financial advisor.
I find it fascinating that people in the U.S are so embarrassed to talk about money. Why is that? Fear of judgement? Shame? When you know the truth of who you are and your power, you won’t worry about what others think. It’s so freeing!
OK, that’s all the disturbing news, now for the solutions:
The Report contains Ten Ways Women Can Take Control of Their Retirement
1. Create a budget that includes income, living expenses, paying off debt, and financial goals such as building short-term savings and long-term retirement savings.
2. Save for retirement and get into the habit of saving on a regular, consistent basis. Save as much as you can, knowing that both small and large amounts add up and compound over time.
3. If your employer offers a retirement plan, participate. Be sure to save enough to take full advantage of employer matching contributions, if available. Learn if you are eligible for the Saver’s Credit, an IRS tax credit for people saving for retirement. Consider making catch-up contributions if you are age 50 or older.
4. Develop a retirement strategy and write it down. Envision your future 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.
5. If faced with caregiving responsibilities for a parent, spouse or other loved one, carefully consider any changes to your work. To help mitigate the impact on your long-term financial security, explore options such as shifting to part-time work.
6. Maintain your ability to continue working as long as you desire. Keep your job skills up to date and learn new ones. Many employers, community colleges and nonprofits offer classes in the latest technologies and careers. Networking groups offer opportunities to meet more people in particular professions.
7. Become personally involved in your family finances ranging from daily budgeting to long-term planning. Discuss retirement saving and planning with family and close friends. An open dialogue with family members about expectations of needing to provide or receive financial support should be part of every woman’s retirement strategy.
8. Get educated about retirement investing and strategies for drawing down savings in retirement. Learn about types of retirement accounts, asset allocation, dollar-cost averaging and the risks of early withdrawals. Become knowledgeable about spending your savings in retirement, including the best time to start receiving Social Security and possible ways to make your savings last throughout your retirement. Seek professional assistance if needed.
9. Have a backup plan in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as separation, divorce, loss of a partner, or being unable to work before your planned retirement. Consider emergency savings; insurance products such as disability insurance and life insurance; and possible ways to cut costs if needed, such as moving to a smaller home, finding a roommate, scaling back transportation costs, or starting a “side gig.”
10. Safeguard your health to help make the most of your retirement. Make a habit of eating healthfully, exercising regularly, getting plenty of rest, and managing stress. Be sure to get routine physicals and recommended health screenings. Seek medical attention when needed
What Do You Think?
- What do you think of these?
- Are you doing these things?
- Will you do all these things?
I hope this report has raised your awareness and given you some good strategies that you will implement.
When I first read this report I thought, “Wow, this is not really bad. There must be a way to fix this!” and I decided that maybe one way to help would be to share the report to raise awareness and provide some strategies.
- What do you think?
- How are you feeling right now?
- Are any of these strategies new ideas to you?
Perhaps you haven’t considered taking care of your health as part of your retirement plan but now you recognize its importance.
And then there’s the issue of actually making the changes.
- Change is challenging.
- The primitive part of our brains doesn’t like changes.
- It’s important to have a compelling why.
You may need a coach…
And…even when you know the steps to take and have a compelling why, there is the issue of “holding yourself accountable.” You may need a coach — and financial advisors are not coaches.
In many cases the resistance is not about lack of knowledge but about our paradigms that dissuade us. The beliefs we have that need to be changed in order to make better choices for ourselves. We need to increase our sense of deserving, learn how to manage fear, overcome failure and forgive and release our past. This is where the power of the Dream Builder System can help you.
If you need to improve your retirement outlook and would love some help, book a complementary Discovery Call. I’ll help you come up with a clear vision and decide on the best next step you can take to move you forward.
Share in the comments…
Thank you for listening, it’s my joy and privilege to serve you and I’m really looking forward to seeing your comments on this report so I can better understand the issues.
And I love to know, are you going to do anything differently as a result of listening to this episode?
And, if you have a burning question you’d like me to answer on a future podcast, let me know in the comments.
Would you like to be a guest here on the podcast, share your success story and inspire others? Just click here.
If you’re finding the ideas in this podcast useful and you would love in-depth personalized support for overcoming any challenge and creating a life you absolutely love, book a complementary Discovery call here.
Now as you go, remember…you absolutely can have financial freedom after 60!
- You are capable of far more than you know
- You were created to have a rich and fulfilling life. It’s your birthright.
- You DON’T HAVE TO SETTLE
- You are more powerful than any circumstance, situation or condition and
- You absolutely can have financial freedom after 60!
And I’m here to help!
Here’s to living happy, rich and free!
Here are the next steps you can take
- Join the conversation in the comments and and post any questions you may have.
- Listen to my other podcasts, especially #7, 8 & 9
- Be a guest on the show and get free coaching? Click here
- Get the full DreamBuilder Program with coaching support? Book a complimentary Discovery Session on my calendar. We’ll get clarity on exactly where you are now, where you would love to be, and decide if we’re a good match to work together.