Retirement can seem like a long way off, but ideally we should start planning for retirement the day we start working. Women seem to put off funding their retirement, thinking they will do it someday, when things in their life change. “When I make more money, I’ll start planning for my retirement,” or, “I don’t need to worry about that now, I’ll do it when I’m older,” are two ways of thinking that can get you into trouble. Unfortunately, for many women that day never arrives and the retirement fund is left unfilled.
Most women are totally unprepared to support themselves during retirement. Surprising?
The Stockton Women’s Network has plenty of scary statistics about women and their money:
- 38% of women aged 30-55 are worried they will live at or near the poverty line, unable to adequately save for retirement.
- 54% of women have little to no money left to save for retirement after paying their bills.
- 61% of all part-time workers are women with little or no access to 401K plans.
- Women routinely don’t save enough to survive on in the event they become widows –which 50% of us will be by the age of 60.
- Americans save somewhere around 1% of our wages – less than any other industrialized nation.
According to a study done by the NEFE (National Endowment for Financial Education), 47% of Americans now say that having enough money for retirement is their number one financial goal, beating out owning a home or retiring early by a long shot. Americans are now starting to see the importance in saving for their future.
How Can I Reach My Retirement Goals?
If you have not started to plan for your retirement, here are some steps you can take today to start moving in the right direction:
- If your employer offers a 401k, speak to the human resources department to find out how you can start to contribute. Most employers offer some sort of match if you contribute to your 401k. This can be like an instant raise for you!
- If your employer does not offer a 401k, seek out a trusted financial adviser so you can begin the process of starting your own retirement fund. Contributing as little as 1% of your income a month is a great start, as it assuredly adds up over time.
- If you are comfortable managing your retirement yourself, you can open an account with an online brokerage and start contributing to your retirement.
Whether you start contributing to a 401k or open an individual retirement account, the most important thing you can do is get started now. Contribute what you can each month, and if you get a raise or come across extra funds, use that cushion to contribute more towards your retirement.
Have you started planning for your retirement? What were the first steps you took towards building a retirement fund? Share your feedback in our comments section below.
Jenny Kerr is a PerkStreet customer and midwestern gal who loves yoga, her Blackberry, makeup and Apple TV. She’s a personal finance blogger at TheJennyPincher, where she shares financial tips for single ladies. Jenny is a former banker and currently works as a consultant during the day. She’s also taught budgeting in a classroom setting.