On August 18, 1920, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Just over 100 years later, women still strive to be equal in many areas, and retirement planning is a critical one. Women are less prepared for retirement and often have fewer retirement resources. This can mean a lower standard of living during the retirement years.
What are some reasons that can potentially contribute to women falling behind in planning for retirement? Women are more likely than men to pause their careers to raise children or to care for aging parents. This pause often results in lost work time and lower income levels. Women also are more likely to choose careers that are flexible or part-time to prioritize family responsibilities, again, resulting in less resources available for retirement savings.
These factors can impact the traditional resources available at retirement, such as Social Security retirement benefits and qualified-plan savings. As financial professionals, many of the challenges female clients face are beyond your control; however, you have the ability to offer solutions. The opportunity lies in empowering female clients by helping them plan for the income gaps and limited retirement resources. Here are some helpful steps for women to help them better prepare for retirement.
Save Early and Often. When starting a career, it is tempting to delay saving for retirement. But compounding teaches us that even small amounts, saved early on, can provide a significant savings base. Contribute to the 401(k) or 403(b) plan, at least up to the match (and hopefully a bit more).
Remember that in 2024, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act 2.0 will allow student-loan payments to be treated as plan contributions for the purpose of matching if the company plan permits.
Contribute to a Spousal IRA. If you have ever stayed at home with your children, niece, nephew, or grandkids, you know that it’s no vacation. Any “stay-at-home” parent will tell you that it is work—important and essential work—which means there should be a retirement savings plan that goes with it. A spousal IRA allows the income from the spouse working outside the home to fund retirement for the spouse at home. A tip—as this helps replace “lost” Social Security retirement benefits income: consider an annuity, which can provide lifelong income.
Part-Time Work Counts. Keep in mind, when Social Security retirement benefits add up the 35 highest-earning years, the years without income count as zero income. This has two effects: there are zero quarters for eligibility and zero income counted toward the benefit. Part-time work can provide quarters for Social Security eligibility and some income (always better than zero).
Yes, women still may strive to be equal in many areas. But those who’ve opted out of the workforce to raise children or care for aging family members (or for similar reasons), can still create a better retirement outcome with some thoughtful planning. And that’s where you come in.
Let’s celebrate Women’s Equality Day by empowering women to plan now for a comfortable retirement that they deserve and will enjoy!
This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Information is based on current laws, which are subject to change at any time. Clients should consult with their accounting or tax professionals for guidance regarding their specific financial situations.
Pacific Life refers to Pacific Life Insurance Company and its affiliates, including Pacific Life & Annuity Company. Insurance products can be issued in all states, except New York, by Pacific Life Insurance Company or Pacific Life & Annuity Company. In New York, insurance products are only issued by Pacific Life & Annuity Company. Product/material availability and features may vary by state. Each insurance company is solely responsible for the financial obligations accruing under the products it issues.
This material is educational and intended for an audience with financial services knowledge.
For more information on retirement-planning strategies, please contact the Retirement Strategies Group at (800) 722-2333, or email us at RSG@PacificLife.com.
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Pacific Life refers to Pacific Life Insurance Company and its affiliates, including Pacific Life & Annuity Company. Insurance products are issued by Pacific Life Insurance Company in all states except New York and in New York by Pacific Life & Annuity Company. Product availability and features may vary by state. Each insurance company is solely responsible for the financial obligations accruing under the products it issues.
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