As a Baby Boomer riding the current retirement wave, you’re among the very first generation of women to have participated in the workforce throughout your adult life. Having lived through and benefitted from the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, women your age have greater savings and larger pensions than any before you. So why does your retirement picture differ from that of your male peers?
After a lifetime of tearing down glass ceilings and breaking through gender barriers, retirement is the next tradition you’ll be changing. According to Statistics Canada, women see retirement as an all-encompassing lifestyle change. You’re not just starting your pension and ending paid work, you’re moving on to the next level. For you, the next level could still include activities that you consider “work”, such as caring for family members, volunteering and even starting a new business. While you’re planning for this next exciting phase in your life, there are a few more things to keep in mind.
A history of conservative investing
If you’re like most women, you’ve taken Warren Buffett’s investing style to heart. You invest carefully, in products that produce guaranteed returns, with your higher-risk deposits going into companies that you expect to survive your lifetime. Risk hasn’t been a big part of your investment style — and you’re pretty content with the nest egg you’ve built up.
Your plan has been an excellent one, especially in light of recent market developments. However, while you’ve saved yourself from terrible lows, you may have also missed out on the long-running bull market that preceded 2008. This may mean that you have a slightly smaller nest egg than that of an investor with a higher risk tolerance.
Lower lifetime earnings
Despite all the strides made forward in equality, and all the glass ceilings that you’ve broken down, there are still significant differences between men’s and women’s earnings, and those have existed throughout your lifetime. You may also have taken a few years off to care for your children. With lower lifetime earnings, you may have had less opportunity to create savings.
Women traditionally retire younger and live longer than their male peers. Once the transition to retirement has begun, women also tend to complete it at a faster rate than men. With 50 per cent of women between the ages of 50 and 59 choosing retirement, and a life expectancy of five years greater than men their own age on average, you have the opportunity to enjoy a longer retirement. You’ll need to plan very carefully to ensure that your wealth is available to you throughout your lifetime.
Planning for the future is vital
While financial obstacles for women in retirement are many, the reality is that you’re not only more prepared than the women who came before you, but you’re also more financially independent, and better educated. Anecdotal evidence indicates that women are more likely to enlist the assistance of a financial advisor in planning their retirement — a strong step in the right direction.
Careful planning before and during retirement will allow you to overcome these obstacles and secure your retirement dream.
According to Statistics Canada, widows accounted for 45 per cent of all women age 65 and over. With increased longevity, women will most likely live longer and live alone for considerable portions of their lives, since women now live an average of 81.3 years, contrasted with 75.3 years for men. In addition, the pattern of population aging is projected to grow, for these seniors, from 13 per cent in 2003 to 18 per cent in 2021, with women predominating.
This was prepared by Raymond James Financial Planning for use by Judy Poole, who is a financial advisor with Raymond James, and has spent the last 39 years involved in the financial industry. This article is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James Ltd. Securities offered through Raymond James Ltd., Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Financial planning and insurance offered through Raymond James Financial Planning Ltd., not a Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.