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09 February 2024

Women and Retirement

Luigi Campopiano

According to Janus Henderson Investors, there's a fundamental list we should pay attention to, and that's our finances: ensuring we're on the right track to achieve all our goals is an essential commitment for everyone, but perhaps a little more so for women.

When it comes to saving for retirement, women often start at a disadvantage. According to a study by the National Institute of Retirement Security, the reasons for the financial gap compared to men are:

  • Women tend to live longer (men in developed countries have a life expectancy around 76 years, while for women it's around 81). This means needing to set aside more money to cover the additional years of retirement.
  • The divorce rate has increased, especially among those over 50. It's highly likely that marital assets will be divided, which will have a significant impact on retirement planning.
  • Women tend to spend more time out of the workforce (to care for children/elderly relatives) or work part-time, factors that lead to lower savings.

Then there's the relationship between women and investments. Several studies show that women don't feel confident when it comes to investing. Janus Henderson's 2022 Retirement Confidence Report highlights that:

  • Women express more concern than men about stock investments.
  • They are characterized as investors with a long-term vision, which means they don't constantly change the contents of their portfolio, which could be an excellent strategy when it comes to pension plans.

Reaching retirement without the stress of inadequate financial support is possible. Although the gap between men and women is still far from being bridged, here are some measures to arrive prepared for retirement:

  1. Be well-organized and develop a plan to follow. Tracking income/expenses is essential to know the health status of one's finances and always know where to find information in emergencies.
  2. Create a budget. It's crucial to ensure that savings/expenses are in line with one's priorities, to be sure to afford the life one desires. Analyze the current financial situation, considering income, expenses, and necessary savings.
  3. Create an emergency fund. Life sometimes surprises with unexpected events, and rather than having to use the monthly budget or savings, it would be helpful to set aside a fund (to cover expenses for 6-12 months) to use in these situations.
  4. Pay off debts. It's necessary to keep in mind the debts that need to be repaid. It can be advised to increase, if possible, payments, consolidate and refinance loans, make payments automatic, and explore different payment options.
  5. Save for retirement. Even before retirement, women should understand if the pension they will receive will be enough to support them (to understand this, you need to ask yourself what lifestyle you want). If the answer is negative, it's useful to have a supplementary pension and increase the contribution annually.
  6. Prepare for future healthcare needs. It's essential to think about possible costs and create a specific fund.

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