Baby Boomers are an ambitious bunch. We’ve changed retirement, making it a fulfilling, fun and exciting time, rather than our parents’ old, cranky seniorhood (okay, sometimes we’re cranky too). But some women don’t embrace this time in the same way as others, and it has a lot to do with money. We don’t like to talk about money. It’s uncomfortable, tacky, we were raised to avoid the topic. That’s all fine and good, but you need to know how to manage it, otherwise you won’t have any – that’s a lot worse than being a little tacky. The point is simple: women need to embrace their finances.
How Women View Money
There are two camps here: women who didn’t work and rely on their spouse, and women who did work, or are still working, and still rely on their spouse, or if they’re single, they just don’t worry so much about it right now. Research says women are a little afraid of investment, yet only 38 percent believe they are prepared for retirement. That’s a bad predicament.
The reason women shy away from financial planning is because they don’t know much about it, yet men don’t let that stop them. This is why they plan and women don’t. Ignorance doesn’t solve anything though, and if you don’t learn about what’s happening in your bank account, you could be in trouble.
Why Women Need to Get Involved
There are simple reasons. For one, maybe your spouse isn’t so great at investing, and you have a better head for numbers. Also, you may be overspending, which is a problem, even if it’s well intentioned. Maybe your husband doesn’t say anything when you come home with a new armchair, but it could be an overage without you even knowing. Still, most importantly, women tend to outlive men, so at some point, you’re going to have to take the reigns, and you’ll be grieving, which is going to make it all the more challenging.
Women Have it Harder
Statistically, women make 78% less than men for the same job. While this is disheartening, it doesn’t mean we can’t put that money to work all the same. Actually, it’s a reason to do it – since women live on average five years longer than men, that lesser money has to last longer, and do double duty during those years on our own. If you’re single, you have to carry the whole load.
As natural caregivers, women lose out on money, too. We take time off to raise a family, or care for an elderly family member, which isn’t just income not made. It’s savings not put away, Social Security not accrued, and a 401 (k) or IRA left dormant.
Fixing it and Getting on Track
Before you throw in the towel, know that it’s not too late to get yourself situated. First, get your money in order. What’s where – what is your retirement account like? Are you still bringing in money? How much? What are your investments like? What about debt? What do you spend each month? Getting all of this in order will give you a clear picture of what’s happening.
Since Boomer women have worked and made more money than any other generation of women, the good news is that you probably do have a sum of money to manage, not just your husband’s. Women inherently save more and favor long-term investments over short-term. These are very good traits! Use them when it comes to your IRA or 401 (K). Once you hit 50, you can include another $1000 to your IRA each year, and $6000 to your 401 (K), which, in 15 years can really accumulate.
Now, get a financial advisor. Women tend to veer away from advisors, but they are very helpful, and can set up a solid investment plan for you. To find a good one, ask around and see if your friends have someone they like, or just interview a few people. Use your gut on this, it’s the best check. Make sure you ask about all the fees involved with financial plans, then go home and put all the information against your financial status. And finally, get out of debt. Once you’re in a position where all you have to do is save, you’ll be set up for a happy, stress-free retirement.