women save more for retirement than men?|
That's not usually a good decision.
The better option is a joint-and-survivor annuity, which provides a lower monthly
payout for the life of the plan participant, as well as a reduced payout, in the
event of death, for the surviving spouse.
"If you have the choice of
taking a survivor benefit with your pension, it's a good thing to do," says
Cindy Hounsell, executive director of the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement.
Maximize Social Security
It's not likely that Social Security will undergo significant reform
this year, despite the Bush administration's push for it. Social
Security reform will likely be of concern to the next administration,
too. Regardless of what happens, the government pension is probably
not something you can depend on completely, especially over the
long term. But there are ways -- as of this writing -- to
maximize your Social Security benefits.
"If you've been married for 10 years, you are
entitled to either your own Social Security benefits or half of
your husband's, whichever is greater," says Gadkowski. "And
if your husband passes away, you're entitled to his whole Social
Security benefits. Even if you haven't been working but have been
married for 10 years, that's a benefit."
There might be ways to increase that, says Joseph,
who sees most women taking half of their husbands' pension check.
Women could work for 10 years to accrue the required 40 credits
to increase their Social Security payout. "Making sure they
get to that and even trying to maximize that payout as opposed to
just defaulting and taking half of their husband's is an option,"
easy to get caught up in day-to-day living and neglect saving for your retirement,
no matter how old you are. There always seems to be one more thing you need --
or want. But saving for retirement shouldn't be considered a luxury. "Women
need to make sure they're prioritizing
their savings," says Gadkowski, "even if they're not working."
For example, she says, spouses who are unemployed
or working from home can contribute to a spousal IRA, funding it
with money earned by the working spouse if necessary. "A lot
of people think if they're not working, they don't have any options
to save for retirement, but they do," she says.