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Retirement unfair to fair sex
Women have come a long way, but many forces put them at a disadvantage when it comes to saving for retirement.
Securing retirement

Why retirement is different for women

Even more compelling evidence that women should actively manage their finances came from a study by Northwestern Mutual with LLuminari in June 2008.

The study found that health and happiness correspond with financial security.

Women who set financial goals and took steps to reach them reported less stress and were more confident and optimistic than those who didn't.

Women are facing better times
Younger women should have it easier than the generation that spawned the baby boomers; more women are in the work force now than ever before.

"For the older generation, their lives went like this: They got married and the man said, 'Don't you worry your pretty little head about anything. I'll take care of everything,'" says Astre.

"I had one client that didn't even drive. Her husband would take time off to take her shopping -- didn't even drive!" he says.

No matter what their age, women have to take responsibility and get involved.

Ideally, everyone should start early, says Rappaport.

Even stay-at-home moms have the chance to save money in a qualified plan. Their working husbands can contribute up to $5,000 in a spousal IRA in 2008.

Women are relationship-oriented
Women who are disinclined to hit the books for some financial education should visit a financial adviser for some advice. Fee-only Certified Financial Planners can offer objective suggestions for planning your financial future.
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A recent study by Cogent Research, "The Female Equation: The Impact of Gender on Investment Attitudes and Behaviors," found that women were much more likely than men to rely on a financial adviser and they tend to be happier with their advisers than men.

"Women are more process-oriented, women are more relationship-oriented," says Silverman. "They will often select a financial adviser, but take a long time to find the right one because trust is a critical component."

Advisers can help with goal setting and determining how much you should be saving for retirement.

In Bankrate's retirement survey, 41 percent of female respondents said they had not figured out how much money they would need for retirement versus 33 percent for males.

Conversely, more women than men had gone to financial advisers to find out how much money they should save -- 32 percent to 22 percent.

Poll respondents who did use a financial adviser were much more confident about having enough money to retire in comfort.

If more women took responsibility for their retirement planning, their golden years might seem a little bit brighter.

The knight in shining armor could still show up, but everyone should have a backup plan firmly in place in case he doesn't.

-- Posted: July 30, 2008
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