Moms and Retirement: 5 Things to Consider

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Moms and Retirement: 5 Things to Consider

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  • Moms and Retirement: 5 Things to ConsiderChanging diapers. 
  • Cooking dinner. 
  • Cleaning up after dinner. 
  • Making school lunches day after day. 
  • Driving, driving, and driving again. 
  • Cleaning? 
  • Scaring away scary monsters at 3 am. 

Honestly, as a busy mom of three saving for retirement is one of the last things on my mind.

It is hard to imagine one day not working, not having kids at home, not driving someone somewhere, so retirement is not really front and center in my life.  But I must plan for it!  (Disclaimer: I am not a certified financial planner. I am simply Money Mom, a mom who works hard to make the most of every dollar we bring into our house for our family and kids.) 

When I started working my first "real" job I knew that one day I would want to retire and that the sooner I saved money the better (something called compounding interest) so I started putting money into a retirement account. 

It wasn't much, only $35 a pay, but it was a start.  Each year as my salary increased I increased that amount.  It was an awesome feeling! 

I was good at saving for retirement until I stopped working to raise children. And even though I have been able to find some part time work during the past ten years I have to admit my retirement account has suffered.  My part time job has gone to cover the increases in gas, electricity, food, and diapers, not to mention the additional costs each child adds to a family household. 

It has been hard to find money to put into a retirement account in my name.  However, now that it has been ten years I have decided I really need to find a way. 

One day I will retire and I want the resources to make it a good one. 

Here are some money mom ideas for other moms (or dads) out there who are also thinking of retiring one day:

1.  If you don't see it you can't spend it. If you are employed outside the home, have money taken directly from your paycheck and put into a retirement account. You may feel the pain for a few weeks, but adjust your budget accordingly. Some firms provide plans such as 401Ks or 403Bs for employees. You can also open a Roth IRA (Individual retirement account) that takes out money pretax, and the advantage of a Roth IRA compared to a regular IRA is then the money is not taxed as income when you use it during retirement. If you are not earning any income, you can have some of the money from your partner's account put into your own retirement plan, either through a Roth IRA or traditional IRA. Start small, and chances are you won't miss it after a month or two.

2.  Start early. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the more your money will grow. I have to admit I am a huge fan of compounding interest. You can also be more aggressive with your savings options as you will, presumably, have many years to try to grow your money. The younger you are the more you can invest in stocks, which historically over time have shown the greatest amount of returns. I am not a financial planner, just a mom who has been in the trenches, so you do want to consult with a financial planner about your investment.

3.  Professional Help? There are various finance people out there can help you with retirement planning. If you work for a company, they may offer a 401K program through work. Many non-profits offer a similar plan called a 403B. And you may want to get the advice of more than one person. I wish I had when I first signed up for what I thought was a retirement account when I started my first teaching job. I turned out it was a life insurance account that earned a small interest rate each year, not something I needed when I was single and 25! Fortunately a financial advisor I met at my next job was able to get me on the right track, and a class action lawsuit against the company who had deceived more than just me allowed me to recoup that money. For questions to ask a financial planner, check out the retirement section of This website, which is produced by the government, has numerous tips for saving money.

4.  Matching contributions. It is hard for the average family to max out their retirement saving's, but one goal you can have is to try to deposit enough money to any amount your company will match in your 401K (if you have a plan at work). If you don't know about this benefit talking to someone in the Human Relations department is a good place to start. For example, if your company will match up to $3,000 you put into a 401K, if you are able to put in $3,000 pretax dollars they will also put in $3,000, giving you $6,000 saved for retirement that year. And you do not pay tax on this money until you retire. Bonus!

5.  Don't leave yourself last. A few years ago I went to a talk about saving for college for kids. The advisor who was speaking basically said that before you save money for your kids to go to college you need to fully fund your retirement. This translates to not putting yourself last. It is hard to do it all- balance and support a household budget, pay down debt, build an emergency savings fund, save for college and fund a retirement. No wonder I should go out to eat less! I need to stop putting myself last and find a way to start building my retirement future again.

I would love to hear your thoughts about ways parents can plan for retirement.

Relate Links:

Planning for the Future; Do You Have a Will?

 Life Insurance; Does your Family Need it?

 Teaching Kids Smart Saving Strategies

Lori ODonnellLori O'Donnell

Lori is a contributing writer for the CareOne Debt Relief Services blog, A Straight Talk on Debt. Lori is a passionate, married mother of three children, one with special needs. She shares her family's life experiences as she writes about saving money, budgeting, and other timely topics for those living in a one income family. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services. To read more posts from Lori's Balancing Family blog click here.

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  • My mom followed these steps years ago by instinct (she's the smartest person financially I have ever met!) and it means she will get to hopefully retire before 65.  Crossing my fingers for her. Hope I can do this eventually (though starting after 35 unlike her due to various circumstances).

  • Gina, that is great!  Sounds like your mom made some smart moves when she was younger and has good instincts.  It is not too late to get started.  Good luck with your plan!

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