Susan K. Neely
President and CEO, American Council of Life Insurers
Women face unique retirement savings challenges. We typically live longer than men, so we are more likely to live alone in retirement and, therefore, need more money for it.
Yet, on average, women earn less than our male counterparts. We shoulder caregiving responsibilities for children and aging parents, which often means taking time away from work.
The good news is that women are increasingly putting themselves in the financial driver’s seat — 95 percent are directly involved in their households’ financial decision-making, but women are still less likely to feel confident that they will reach their most important financial goals.
Planning for retirement is the best form of self-care. These are the things all women can do today:
1. Lean in on money talk
Make retirement security a part of the conversation with yourself and your friends. Women across the country are working full- or part-time. They are CEOs of their homes. They are nearing or are in retirement. We need to talk with one another about our retirement strategies! Women are a powerful force in the American economy — let’s lean in and use our collective power to elevate this conversation.
2. Work with a planner to close the retirement savings gap
Preparing for retirement takes more than just contributing to a retirement savings account. Modern retirements can last 20-30 years and we need to make our money last. Fortunately, there are financial products available to help. Taking steps, like owning life insurance, individual long-term care insurance policies, and at least one individual annuity, are critically important components of building a financially secure future. Experienced financial professionals can help navigate these options.
3. Teach your daughters (and sons) about the importance of preparing for a strong financial future
You do not have to earn a high income to be financially secure. In fact, a quarter of the most financially secure households earn $50,000 or less. How did they do it? They had a plan and took steps, like owning life insurance or disability insurance, and having emergency savings.
When women are stronger financially, we all thrive. Let’s make retirement a centerpiece of any self-care plan.
Susan K. Neely, President and CEO, American Council of Life Insurers, [email protected]