This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks and Prudential
Ever since I started working my first job, I’ve been thinking about retirement. Not in the practical sense, like “how will I take care of myself when I don’t have a regular paycheck anymore.” I’ve thought about retirement as a dream, a goal that I’ll reach one day after years of hustling, and I finally get a chance to slow down.
In my dream, retirement for me looks just like it does for my in-laws. They are truly living a charmed life. They have a beautiful home where they frequently host parties and get-togethers. A lovely backyard with lemon trees and lots of grass. And they travel, or volunteer, or do whatever they want, whenever they want.
That is the life!
Of course, my husband’s and my plans for retirement are going to look a lot different than our folks’. They were financially savvy and made good money decisions, for sure, but they also had pensions. The days of working at a company and retiring with a pension to help supplement whatever you get from social security are long gone, so we have to make other plans
Back in the day, the source of income after retirement used pensions as the base. From there, there was Social Security, and a personal nest egg was expected to be the smallest contribution. Now, it’s the complete opposite. Pensions are becoming a thing of the past. We don’t know what Social Security is going to look like twenty years from now. We have to take charge of putting money away for ourselves if we want to know that we’ll be okay.
It’s not too late to protect your retirement
I have a confession. As much as I’ve been dreaming about it, I hadn’t put a lot of thought into the how of my retirement until just recently. Years of being a creative entrepreneur and focusing on booking the next gig or client was my priority. Now that I’m 40, I’m scrambling just a bit.
Does that mean I’m just out of luck? That I’ll have to keep working until I literally can’t work anymore? At one point I started to feel a little frantic about the idea. I want my retirement! I’ve worked too hard to not have a chance to enjoy it!
Thankfully, I’ve learned that it’s not too late. There are still options for me to be able to protect my retirement and be able to take care of myself after I finish working. I’ve been working with Prudential to get educated, and also to share what I’ve learned, and I’m excited about the possibilities!
One of the first things I learned from financial professionals at Prudential is that having a retirement income strategy is just as important as accumulation. Basically, it’s great to save a lot of money, but what’s the plan for using those funds to pay bills and things like that when you aren’t earning an income anymore?
It all feels a little daunting, right? Anne Chin BeDell has been a Prudential financial professional for 40 years, and she says that it’s not too late to start planning for retirement. “Start now,” she says.
Protected Lifetime Income is an important tool for women
You might be like me and wondering where to start. I had the opportunity to ask that question on a panel with Prudential recently. Knowing that I wanted to come back and share everything I learned with all of you, I made sure to ask the hard stuff. First, here are a few things we need to keep in mind:
Wage income gap + Retirement income gap
You probably know about the wage income gap already, but did you know that in retirement, women on average have 32% less saved than men?1
Women are working in and out of the home
In addition to their jobs, many women are working an average of 28 additional hours a week taking care of our homes and families.2
Women live longer
We’re living longer than our husbands by anywhere from 5 – 6 years. 3
What does all of this mean? How can we use this information to help us protect our retirement?
Well, we have to remember that we can’t rely on anyone else to take care of us. We have to prioritize our retirement planning, and we have to put our needs first. Yes, that means that we’re putting away money for our retirement before we’re contributing to our kids’ college funds.
As Anne Chin BeDell from Prudential said, “You can always take out a loan for college. You can’t do it for your retirement.” It also means we need to look at financial planning solutions that can help us to overcome these challenges – one way to do this is with protected lifetime income.
Annuities are a type of protected lifetime income and can be a tremendous asset for women. They allow us to receive a “paycheck” regularly through our retirement, often for life. An annuity can help to cover the gaps you may have in your retirement savings, which is essential as we wind down our working years and ease into the next phase of our lives.
You can have security in retirement
I know that this all feels like a lot to figure out, especially if you’re a late bloomer like me. Maybe you took time off to raise your family and stopped contributing to your retirement accounts. Perhaps you never even started. Again, it’s not too late. You can have certainty in retirement, and the possibility of enjoying your later years is still feasible.
The most important lesson I learned from Prudential is the importance of meeting with a financial professional. They can go over all of your financials and provide personalized suggestions for your retirement strategy.
Don’t let the overwhelm stop you from starting. You can request a complimentary and confidential financial assessment at www.shespeaks.com/prudential.
This content is sponsored by Prudential and SheSpeaks.
1. U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Prudential Retirement.
2. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, October 2016, http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=54757
3. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Hyattsville, MD. 2016