I think about retirement quite often. Even though I don’t have a traditional 9-5 job, I’m still a working parent. And in my case, I have to work really tough hours (my “day” started at 2:15am today). I have to create those pockets of time when my kids are asleep or away from home to get my writing done.
Make no mistake, I LOVE my job. But yes, I do think about the day when I’m no longer working to have to pay for my day-to-day needs. Perhaps that will come before age 65, but most likely not (just being realistic!).
My time as a Genworth Ambassador has been really eye-opening and given me a lot to think about, especially as a woman thinking about retirement.Women have some unique realities that should have an impact on how we make our plans for retirement.
Women and Retirement
1. Retired and single.There is a greater than 50% chance that by the time a woman gets to age 65, she will not be married. This is due to being widowed, divorced, or never married at all. While I hope and pray with all of my heart that Tim will still be with me to enjoy retirement, the fact is that he might not. And even if he is, I’m statistically likely to outlive him, by a few years or even by several decades, just depending on the cards we are dealt. That is why it is SO important for me to have a clear understanding of our retirement plans and to be actively involved in managing our retirement contributions to ensure a robust nest egg.
2. Preparing for long-term care. A familiar scenario is that a wife is able to care for her husband as his health declines, sometimes delaying or altogether eliminating the need for time in the nursing home for the husband. But that leaves no care provider for the wife, and the need for long-term care arises. Did you know that the median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $81,000/year? Planning for that possible scenario takes some forethought, to be sure, but it is important for women to have a plan in place for how to pay for such needs, should they arise. Nursing homes have, by some accounts, 80% female patients. Nobody dreams of the day when they move to a nursing home, but the reality is, it happens. And it happens to women in much greater numbers than it happens to men.
While there are some scenarios and situations that make me feel nervous about retirement (such as facing it without Tim, or ending my days in a nursing home), the reality is that it could happen, and the better prepared I am for the financial piece of retirement to be in good shape, the easier it will be to handle other aspects. Money definitely doesn’t buy happiness, but having “enough” money to know your future is secure is a game changer.