The Unique Retirement Issues Facing Women

This article is excerpted from the forthcoming book Your Complete Guide to a Safe and Secure Retirement, to be published in January 2019 by Harriman House.

Women face at least 12 unique challenges from financial and life circumstances related to long-term retirement planning. Addressing these can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. But, only by understanding the issues can you develop strategies that will provide the greatest chance of achieving your clients’ goals.

Specifically, women:

1. Earn less.
2. Live longer.
3. Have fewer years of earned income.
4. Start investing later.
5. Are less confident about their personal finance and investing skills.
6. Are less aggressive investors.
7. Are less satisfied with the current financial advisory industry.
8. Are more likely to bear the physical, emotional, and financial brunt of the “sandwich generation”caring for both children and elderly parents.
9. If divorced, face specific challenges and obstacles.
10. Are less likely to remarry after a “gray divorce”divorce over age 50or becoming widowed later in life.
11. Are more subject to elder abuse.
12. Are statistically likely to die single, divorced, or widowed.

We explore the impact of these 12 diverseand yet often interconnecteddynamics and offer solutions for how to address them in a way that leaves women more financially empowered.

On women

First, however, we must clarify that “women” are not a collective group. Each woman is unique in her own right and will have her own personal experiences that may deviate from this list. Additionally, a woman’s individual experience will vary with which stage of life she is inas defined both by age and life events. For example:

Young women trying to establish good financial habits.
Breadwinning women who are trying to manage multiple demands on their time.
Suddenly single womendivorced or widowed, often with limited financial knowledge and/or experience.