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Her Retirement Savings Plan: Special Considerations for Women

There are special considerations for women when it comes to retirement financial planning and   factors that may impact retirement savings, such as women may leave the workforce to care for parents, children or both - and that time away can impact their pension or savings.  Another reality is that women often live longer than men, and when you pair that with the fact that in many married couples the husband is older than the wife, this  may add up to a longer time in retirement for women than men.

When you consider that data suggests that post-retirement years have stretched from 13 to 20 years, or 54% longer, it’s clear that a proportionate increase in savings is needed to fund a longer retirement.

“While longevity is exciting when thinking about additional years out of the workforce and more time with family and friends, it may be somewhat concerning when it comes to retirement savings,” says Crystal Wong, Senior Regional Manager, TD Waterhouse Financial Planning.  “In order to fund a longer retirement, it’s essential to start saving as early as possible, and to make smart investments that will provide income in retirement.”

So what can women do to help ensure their retirement planning is on the right track?  Wong offers her suggestions:

  • Ensure you have a written, comprehensive financial plan.  A recent TD Waterhouse poll found that only 31% of Canadian women have a financial plan.  It’s an essential way to define your long-term goals, and the steps you’ll take in the short term to get there.
  • Consider working with a financial advisor to ensure your investments match your long-term goals such as retirement, estate planning and kids’ education.  Advisors can also provide advice on investments to consider if you don’t currently have a diverse portfolio.   It’s important to know that that you don’t need to have a lot of knowledge to work with an advisor, they will provide the advice, education and updates you need to understand and navigate the financial markets.
  • Take an active interest in your family’s finances.  Even if you’re not the one in your family paying the bills or making the investment decisions, it’s important to understand where your savings and investments are housed, your family’s investing strategy, any tax strategies and know whether loved ones have an estate plan and a will.
  • Consider planning for unexpected events.  Many Canadians are living beyond their means, leaving them vulnerable to unexpected events, such as the death of a spouse, the loss of a job or the need for major home repairs. A good emergency fund should include six months’-worth of living expenses should something unexpected happen.

“What’s most important is feeling confident that your future is financially secure,” adds Wong.  “And by having a financial plan that includes a clear retirement savings plan and measures in case of the unexpected, you’re in good shape.”