women save more for retirement than men?|
Mark Terry Bankrate.com||
The statistics, if taken alone, can be a little depressing
-- for both men and women. In the United States, on average, women
live to the age of 80 years and men live to the age of 74. Women
earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by men. In addition, during
the course of their lives, men will be out of the work force for
about 16 months, but women will be on hiatus for 11-plus years on
average, because of responsibilities for child rearing and caregiving
for elderly parents.
And here's another sinister statistic:
According to the Social Security Administration, the average age of widowhood
for women is 56.
"We've got quite a few years of living to finance,"
says Stacy Francis, certified financial planner with Francis Financial
in New York.
Gender issues and roles are complicated, and it's tricky to make
across-the-board generalizations about behavior, but there is still
a tendency for women to let men take care of the money. It's imperative
that women -- and men -- be involved in their financial planning.
a real call to action," says Francis. "Start now. We have a knight-in-shining-armor
syndrome, where we expect men to come along and take care of things for us. And
I'm not blaming our parents or society, it's just something that's still there.
But women really need to take responsibility for their finances because nobody
Lauren Gadkowski, a certified financial planner with
Compass Planning Associates in Boston, agrees. "It tends to
be women who are kind of happy to give up the reins financially.
I definitely think it's changing, and I'm seeing a lot more couples
working together, as opposed to an either/or scenario, but people
in retirement or working up to retirement right now I still see
with that mind-set."
With retirement planning, there are two basic stages: accumulation
and spending. The accumulation phase takes a long time and ideally should begin
when you're young. The longer your money has to grow, the better.
"I think it's important to make savings important
from day one," says Gadkowski. "Everybody, as soon as
you get your first job, 10 percent should be automatically invested
at the beginning of the month. Pay yourself first rather than waiting
to see if you have enough money at the end of the month."
Mark Joseph, a certified financial planner at Sentinel
Wealth Investment Inc., in Reston, Va., advocates the same approach
to both men and women: Get rich slowly. "If you're working,
maximize your employer plans. Take advantage of matching funds from
If one or both spouses are
lucky enough to have an old-fashioned pension plan (the kind that is fully funded
by the employer), be aware that most such plans provide benefits for surviving
spouses. In some plans, the employee can elect to take a straight-life annuity,
which would provide for the largest monthly payout for the duration of only his
or her life, but the spouse would have to agree to this option, signing a waiver