Despite all of the other advances made in our society in recent generations, women continue to face unique challenges when it comes to preparing for their financial futures.
Recognizing the Shortfalls
For starters, women on average still earn less than men, according to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. And because women tend to serve as primary caregivers for young children and aging parents, women typically spend fewer years in the workforce. As a result, the average woman could earn significantly less than the average man during the course of a lifetime.
That combination of lower earning power and fewer years in the workforce translates into less retirement savings for women. In addition, the average annual pension benefit for a retired woman is less than that of the average retired man.
Adding to the inequity, Social Security benefits, based in part on workplace longevity, are also adversely affected. The end result is that retired women also tend to receive smaller monthly Social Security checks than men.
Closing the Gap
Consequently, it's essential that all women and their loved ones embrace a more active approach to investments to make up for the financial shortfalls they could face at retirement.
It's particularly important to take advantage of tax-deferred individual retirement accounts and employer-sponsored savings plans when available. You might also consider asking your financial advisor about products that are designed to provide lifetime income.
Remember, even a small increase in the amount of your investments may add up to significant savings over time.
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