Should Women Save More For Retirement?

Retirement & Investing
on December 4, 2012

While it doesn’t seem fair or politically correct, many leading economists and personal financial advisers have started advising women to save more for their retirement. This is because women typically have higher health care expenses, tend to live longer, and tend to invest more conservatively than men.

Over the course of their lifetime, women will tend to spend about ten to twenty percent more on their healthcare than men. While the majority of this is due to maternity expenses, health insurance does tend to cost women more than men. Since retired women often have to pay for their own health insurance until they qualify for Medicare, and since many retirees choose to supplement their Medicare coverage with an additional policy, it is generally recommended that women save more money to cover their higher premiums.

In addition to paying higher premiums, women tend to live longer. In the United States, the average woman will live about five years longer than the average man. While this gap has shown signs of closing in recent years, it still makes sense to make sure that a woman is prepared to care for herself for a longer period of time than a man. While most single women expect to make sure that they can fully support themselves during their retirement, a lot of married women make the mistake of assuming their joint savings will cover both of them.

In actuality, many married couples base their retirement savings off of the expected lifespan of only one of the partners, and fail to consider what would happen in the event that one partner dies earlier than the other. It’s important to note that in this case, Social Security benefits can be drastically cut, and in some cases a pension can be cut off completely. Because of this, it is critical that all women make sure they have enough in savings to support themselves.

Finally, many surveys over the past several years have shown that women tend to invest more conservatively than men. While this means that women are less likely to lose all of their savings, it also means that their savings will grow more slowly. Because of this, women can count on less money from interest and dividend income in their later years. The solution is to either invest more aggressively or save more during a woman’s working years to make up for this difference.

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