Many women over 50 feel insecure about their retirement picture. Is there
enough money to live comfortably? Is it time for retirement -- or just a change
A woman may indeed have a riskier financial picture as she ages. "Women
typically have worked fewer years than men, and for lower wages," says Jean
Setzfand, director of financial security at the AARP. "Yet they tend to
outlive their spouses -- and will likely have greater health care costs as they
age. That means their income will drop at an even greater rate as they get
And some women over 50 may find themselves dissatisfied with jobs or careers
they've devoted decades to developing, says Cynthia Barnett, EdD, a retirement
lifestyle specialist based in Norwalk, CT. "At mid-life, you begin thinking
'what's my purpose in life.' This starts a whole cycle of self-reflection, a
search for work you love to do," she tells WebMD.
Women Over 50: Boosting Your Financial and Professional Power
Are you ready to give your career and finances a boost? This to-do list will
get you started:
___Learn about finances. Educate yourself about retirement planning,
your options, and your financial picture. Stay up-to-date on Social Security
and Medicare. The more financially literate you become, the better decisions
you'll make. And for women over 50, there's still time to catch up on
retirement savings. Not sure where to start? Talk to a financial planner (to
get unbiased advice, pay a flat fee for a visit), take a financial planning
night course, or ask friends how they're handling the road to retirement.
___Complete a self-assessment on a retirement calculator. All the big
investment management firms have financial planning calculators on their web
sites, as does the AARP. Women over 50 should factor in all their sources of
retirement income, including social security, employer-based retirement income
(pension and 401k), and personal savings (IRA accounts).
___Start saving now. The percentage of income you should sock away
depends on your circumstances, but aim for 10% if you can, and more is better,
say the experts at CNNMoney.com. If you do it via payroll deduction, which is
done before taxes, you won't even miss it.
___Be disciplined. Stick with your retirement plan. Take advantage of
catch-up provisions in IRAs and 401(k)s that allow you to put away more
tax-deferred income if you're 50 or older.
___Develop good habits. Women over 50 should set up a household
budget. It's a good habit to live below your means. Don't build up debt.
___Protect your credit. Good credit allows you buy a home
affordably, and protects you from costly loans with outrageously high fees.
Because errors on your credit report can creep in (errors that could make you
look like a bad credit risk) check your credit report at least once a year --
for free -- at annualcreditreport.com.