In today's world, women are achieving unprecedented levels of education and success. They control over 50% of America's wealth and play a significant role in managing their family's finances. However, when it comes to retirement planning, they often find themselves on the sidelines, a fact acknowledged by financial experts.
This disengagement can profoundly impact their lives once they reach retirement age.
It's time to change this narrative, and a growing community of women's advocates is spearheading the movement.
During a recent episode of the "Retirement Resource Show," I spoke with Dr. Dee Warmath, a highly regarded consumer scientist and assistant professor at The University of Georgia. Our discussion shed light on the unique challenges that women face when planning for a successful retirement.
Dr. Warmath's extensive research confirms a disheartening statistic: at least 70 percent of women express dissatisfaction with the service they receive from financial professionals.
I've personally witnessed this. Women often visit our office and share their feelings of being dismissed or unheard by advisors who primarily cater to a male perspective. It's no surprise, then, that approximately 80 percent of widows seek new advisors following the passing of their spouses.
I've discovered a common sentiment through heartfelt conversations with many widows and divorcees: they wish they had been more involved in long-term financial decisions.
Unfortunately, many of these women don't consider themselves well-versed in investing, which leads to discomfort in speaking up or seeking advice from financial professionals.
In reality, women are statistically more likely to be single at some point in their lives due to longer lifespans, whether by personal choice, divorce, or the loss of a partner.
It's crucial to normalize conversations about the topics that often go unaddressed: budgets, money management, bills, death, and even retirement itself.
Regardless of marital status, retirement planning should be seen as an act of self-care with immense value. By proactively engaging in this process, women can attain clarity and confidence when they need it most.
Retirement planning goes beyond mere financial calculations; it's an opportunity for women to take control of their futures and create a foundation for a fulfilling retirement.
Here are some practical steps women can take to navigate the challenges and build financial independence:
- Education: Investing time and effort in understanding personal finances and retirement strategies is crucial. Women can empower themselves by attending workshops, seminars, and webinars on financial literacy. It's never too late to enhance one's knowledge and gain confidence in managing money matters.
- Seek Women-Friendly Advisors: Finding financial advisors who genuinely understand and empathize with women's unique needs is essential. A trusted advisor should actively listen, communicate clearly, and educate their clients throughout the decision-making process. Don't hesitate to switch advisors if you feel your concerns are not being addressed or valued.
- Network and Collaborate: Connect with other women who are passionate about securing their financial future. Join women's investment clubs, professional organizations, or online communities where experiences and insights are shared. Building a supportive network can provide encouragement, valuable advice, and a sense of community.
- Engage in Open Communication Frequently: Whether married or single, discussing financial matters openly with partners, family members, and loved ones is crucial. Breaking the silence surrounding money-related topics will lead to better understanding and collaboration, enabling women to make informed decisions together.
- Take Advantage of Technology: Embrace financial tools and apps designed to simplify budgeting, track expenses, and monitor investment portfolios. Technology can empower women to gain a deeper understanding of their finances, make informed decisions, and stay organized throughout their retirement journey.
Women must take charge of their finances and rewrite the narrative surrounding retirement planning. It's time to shatter the barriers that have held women back and ensure they have the resources, knowledge, and support they deserve.