Longevity Rules: Why long-term retirement planning is more important for women

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Retirement planning is one of the most important guarantees an individual can make to ensure that their retirement goes smoothly and with as few interruptions as possible. However, women are having to take into consideration some extra factors in retirement planning that men aren’t necessarily as concerned about.  The biggest concern that women are faced with is an extended longevity (1). Statistics are still showing that, on average, women tend to live 5-10 years longer than men.  There is also still a very real and very pronounced wage difference between female earners and their male counterparts (2). Combine these realities with the fact that nearly 50% of women over 65 are still facing crises regarding outliving their financial resources (3), retirement planning is critical for a happy, healthy retirement for women.

While medical technology is improving at a rapid rate, the effect on retirees is twofold.  There is both a better chance of living longer throughout one’s retirement, as well as a greater risk of outliving those retirement savings and investments. While this is a problem for retirees across the board, its effects tend to be more pronounced for women looking to begin or in the midst of their retirement.  This improved technology is gradually extending an already relatively long retirement stage.  Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a negative.  With appropriate planning and investing, those extra years can be the extra time you need to get all you can out of life.

Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it should be. Released in April of this year, a study by the National Partnership for Women and Families noted that there’s still a tremendous differences in wages between median salaried female and male wage earners.  The former are earning on average, roughly $11,100 fewer annually than men in the same bracket. While there has been some progress in decreasing the wage gap, it’s estimated that, assuming the gap shrinks at the same rate, it will be another 45 years before women are paid at the same levels as men. What this ultimately means in the short term, is that women need to be that much more careful with their investments and need to start planning for their retirement much earlier than men do.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is women are at something of a disadvantage when it comes to retirement.  Not only are they more likely to outlive those closest to them, they’re also in an economically disadvantaged position due to society being slow on fully establishing gender equality. The effects are well-documented, and while working to change that is a good long-term solution, the best way to ensure personal stability in the future is to start planning as soon as possible.

Sources:

1. http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1827162,00.html

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/women-and-equal-pay-wage-gap_n_3038806.html

3. http://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/Author/meschede-tatjana/Rising%20Economic%20Insecurity%20Among%20Senior.pdf