Women and Retirement: Navigating the Path to Your Retirement

The roles women play in the workplace, in their families and with their finances are rapidly evolving. Women across generations are taking an increasingly active role in financial decision-making and preparing for retirement, including the planning, saving, investing and worries that come with this responsibility. At the same time, they’re asking for more guidance. Today’s female pre-retirees want financial professionals to take the time to help them understand the various scenarios they may face so they can be fully prepared for whatever lies ahead.

Women and Retirement is a topic that’s especially important to me personally as well professionally. I’ve been in the industry for about 20 years, and I have experienced the growth women have taken on in making financial decisions. Twenty years ago, there were very few initiatives in the industry to help women and retirement with their unique hurdles, that has motivated me to gain experience and seek out tools to better help this demographic. Personally, I helped my mother with her financial and retirement plan after my father died suddenly in his 50’s, I also helped my mother-in-law with her retirement plan after a divorce. Each brought forward a unique set of circumstances.  I am happily married to a nurse and have three young daughters. Even our new puppy is a girl! I’m surrounded by women/girls of all ages so I can’t let them down. But seriously, women and retirement is a personal passion for me and PAG.

Women and Retirement Planning are Trending

Women and Retirement Trending Topic

Here are some reasons why women and retirement planning are such an important topic.

American women are well educated and are breaking down barriers in the workforce. Women are estimated to account for:

  • 57% of all bachelor’s degrees
  • 60% of all master’s degrees
  • 53% of all doctoral degrees

In the workforce:

  • Women make up 57% of all employees
  • 52% of professionals and managers are women

Women Own 11.6 Million Businesses

As women make headway in the professional world other cultural norms are changing as well such as waiting longer to marry and start a family. Due to the increase in education and experience in the professional world women are taking a larger role in the financial-making decisions of the family, especially retirement planning.

This is trailblazing stuff and it’s happening now! Most women planning for retirement today do not have guidance on financial planning matters handed down to them from previous generations. Because of this rapid shift in cultural norms, I have come across female clients in a variety of situations. For example, widows who never managed the family finances, female breadwinners, single mothers, and even women who are successful but never married or started families.

This diverse group requires financial guidance unique to any other demographic. Even with all this positive change, there is still a lot of work to be done with women and retirement planning.

Unique Circumstances Women and Retirement Still Face

Women and Retirement Face Unique Circumstances

The pay gap persists. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the female to male earnings ratio is currently .82%.

Her family depends on her. This is an understatement! Families are always dependent on mothers. In my family, we were depending on my wife while she was home with our daughters and now, we’re dependent on her as she’s accelerating her career. Women are getting pulled from work to care for their children, aging parents, a sick spouse, or grandchildren. But, because women are caregivers that does not mean there are not working, three-quarters of caregivers also work outside the home. There are superwomen everywhere we look!

Longevity leads to greater expenses. Women live longer, a woman who reaches 65 has a 50% chance they will reach age 89. With that longevity comes a much greater cost.

Social Security and Health Care concerns. Women receive about 55% of the social security benefits paid out. This includes their own benefits, spousal benefits, divorced spouse benefits, and widow benefits. Social Security is a particularly important component of a women’s retirement plan.

Patriot Advisory Group utilizes a four-step approach to help our women clients prepare for retirement. The unique diversity of women when it comes to retirement planning requires a unique approach different from other demographics.

Women and Retirement Planning Process Overview

Here is a quick overview of our process:

Help you envision retirement.
  • What do you imagine your retirement looking like?
  • What goals have you made for yourself, your children, spouse, and other family members?
  • How will you feel when you accomplish those goals?

With many American’s working and living longer, it’s difficult to imagine what retirement will look like for many. Especially if they anticipate outliving their husbands. All options must be planned for to increase the chances of retirement success. I often hear, “I wish our financial professional could sketch out a few options and what each would cost, that would help us visualize what we want.”

With our approach we help determine a plan that will realize your goals, once the goal is established, we can establish a plan to achieve those goals. Having a plan in place creates clarity and motivates us to achieve our goals. The process of establishing those goals also provides the opportunity to include their spouse in the process.

Ocasio Family Women and Retirement

Women and Retirement Planning Process

Discuss scenarios and solutions.

We understand the importance of clearly communicating the roles of financial advisors in the planning process. As the plan is being prepared, we don’t want to overwhelm any client but especially our women clients. How do we accomplish this clarity? We empower our clients with the knowledge they want to make informed decisions.

For example, we’ll walk you through several social security distribution strategies. Further, we’ll explain the reasoning behind the retirement plan options and when working with partners, connect with both equally.

One topic that is common as we work with high-net-worth women is ESG investing. Also known as socially responsible investments that align with their values. We help review current ESG positions and add any other aspects of socially responsible investing. These are topics that come up as we’re having these discussions during this second step.

Accurately model and estimate what retirement could cost.

Once the vision is established it’s time to create the plan and review the cost. Is the plan within reach? A common pain point we see is our clients initially not knowing what will be needed in retirement. It’s important to find a middle ground between what the goals are and what they can afford. Several scenarios must be taken into account.

I was working with a female client last year who was concerned about being a single parent and sole provider. She was concerned about having a long-term health issue and being able to continue to provide for her child. That caused us to include a scenario in the plan to cover such an event. We eventually had 3 different retirement scenarios in place for her and she was confident she can handle whatever retirement brings.

Consider taxes in this holistic approach.

Just with any retirement plan, taxes must be part of the optimization strategy. We help our women clients see the big picture of successful tax planning strategies. At Patriot Advisory, we include tax-efficient planning in all our strategies.

Next Steps

As you can see, PAG offers unique a planning approach when working with women clients. We understand the unique challenges facing you and have the experience and ability to provide sound financial advice. Get started by requesting our Women and Retirement Planning Guide. This is simple a three-page guide to help get your thoughts organized about your retirement dreams, plans, and concerns. Once you review the guide, we will schedule a no-cost, no-obligation meeting to discuss the guide and next steps.

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