Retired and Loving It

Retirement is not without its financial challenges. Learn how our retired bloggers are handling life on a fixed income.

Will You be a Poor Elderly Woman?

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One of the most common fears for women, especially once they reach retirement, is the "bag lady syndrome." Do I have enough money to last throughout my retirement years?

Will I run out of money, even with great financial planning, and end up homeless because I can no longer meet mortgage payments, pay the taxes on my property, or pay the utilities?

Women who were financially savvy and saved religiously for their future retirement no longer have the confidence that their savings will be there for them. And they have every good reason to feel that way, in light of our current recession and the termination of so many employer retirement plans and savings plans.

Current statistics indicate that 74% of the elderly poor are women. This is truly a wake-up call for women who need to take some initiative and ensure that they are prepared for retirement.

Here are five tips to help you get on the right path to a financially secure future:

  • Estimate your retirement expenses: How much income will you need to meet those expenses? Once you determine an income goal, you can start making plans to reach it. Some tips on reaching those goals include:
  • Join a retirement plan: Invest in a 401(k) plan where you can take advantage of pre-tax contributions and a company match, if available, through payroll deductions. As a woman, you can expect to live an average of 19 years after retiring at the age of 65 and three years longer than your spouse.
  • Know your spouse's retirement plan: If you are married, you need to know how much your spouse is investing in his retirement plan. How much is this plan estimated to provide you both at retirement? Has he taken steps to ensure his portfolio or savings investments are allocated appropriately? This will help you both to know what to expect in the future.
  • Track your Social Security earnings: If you are employed and paying Social Security taxes then you are building potential earnings for the future. You may also be eligible for Social Security benefits based on your husband's work history. These benefits should be factored in as supplemental income only and will replace about 40% of your pre-retirement income.
  • Consider long term care: Studies show that more than 60% of seniors over the age of 65 will need some type of long term care and that one year in a nursing home averages $66,000. Make sure to factor this possibility in when estimating your retirement income goals.

For women, this is not exactly an exciting topic but we have to be realistic and protect ourselves against future catastrophic and unlikely events.

Related Links:

More Women Struggling With Debt

 Financially Fit.TV - Frugally Fabulous Females

 CareOne WhitePapers - Women in Debt

 Linda Reese

Linda is a contributing writer for the Retired & Loving it blog. Linda is retired, married, and enjoying her retirement in a retirement community in Florida. She shares her experiences with others who are facing retirement or already there with posts on living on a fixed income, budgeting, and healthcare issues. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

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  • I know this entry is aimed at women, but it is sound advice for anyone - young, old, male or female.  Thanks for the tips!

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