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Should women save more for retirement than men?
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If your income requires you to decide which is more important to fund -- your retirement or your children's college educations -- it's always a better option to fund retirement.

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"One mistake I see women making a lot more than men," says Gadkowski, "is prioritizing children over their own savings. They worry they're not taking care of their kids. My argument is, if you don't save properly for your retirement there's not a lot you can do about it." Meanwhile, college kids have plenty of other options, she says, including getting grants, scholarships or work-study opportunities.

"Their retirement really needs to be a priority," she says. "It's hard -- you don't want to be selfish, you want to be seen as a good parent, but I think that's one time where it's really, really crucial for them to put themselves first."

Go with a pro
Investing can be a very intimidating prospect and not everybody is equipped to deal with investing on their own. Francis notes that there are excellent resources on the Web to learn about investing, but if you're not inclined to do the work, she says, "Find a trustworthy, ethical money manager."

Mark Rylance, a financial planner at RS Crum Inc., in Newport Beach, Calif., agrees. "People think it's such a daunting task and just don't do it. If they don't want to use the tools that are out there, there are plenty of planners that work on an hourly basis to help them put some of the pieces together.

"It all starts with going from A to B. Where you are right now, where you're going, and sometimes it takes us a lot of time to help people identify their own goals," he says. "Then you build your financial statement, then you build your budget, then you start a savings plan. You run the numbers, then you build a balanced portfolio. That's what people need to do to really determine how big a pot of gold they will need at the end of the rainbow. It's not an exact science. It's a process, not an exact plan."

Although women are statistically likely to live longer than men, this advice applies to men and women alike. Start early, set your goals, create priorities, maximize your savings, get professional help. Nobody sets out wanting to retire in poverty, but many people don't plan at all.

Says Gadkowski, "The people in the best situation for attaining their retirement goals aren't the people who make the most money, but who are the most disciplined in their savings."

Bankrate.com's corrections policy-- Posted: Nov. 2, 2005
 
 
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