The following content originally appeared in an article by Brian O'Connell on the popular financial site TheStreet.com on July 14, 2016.
5 Key Must-Dos For Women Looking for a Successful Retirement
American women, it's becoming increasingly apparent, have a tougher job saving for their post-working years than men do... Job one for women looking down the road toward retirement is to know their financial situation, and also know they have a relatively bigger challenge than men in saving for a decent retirement...
To lay out an action plan that will get women retirement savers out of the block, and to get on the right track, TheStreet asked financial industry experts for specific tips on upgrading their money management game. Here are five of the best tips in the bunch:
2. Get a good financial advisor and ask the right questions -Make sure you know the questions you should be asking your advisor to optimize your retirement, says Michelle Brownstein, a financial planner at San Francisco-based Personal Capital "How much money do I need to save each year to retire at my desired retirement age?" Brownstein says. "What assumptions are you making in terms of returns in that calculation? What are my total fees for the strategy you've built for me, including advisory fees, trade commissions and product costs?" All of the above are questions women need to ask their financial advisors when hammering out a good retirement savings plan, Brownstein says.
3. Stand on your own two feet, financially - This one is a tough, but ultimately game-changing move for women looking for financial security in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. "Be financially self-sufficient in your marriage or any relationship," advises Lauren Klein, a certified financial planner who specializes in helping women manage financial transitions and gain financial confidence. "I can't tell you how many women I've worked with who trusted their partners to do right by them and were bitterly disappointed. Take equal responsibility for your financial health. Remember: building your financial future isn't anyone else's job. It's yours."
4. Get rid of debt - If your bottom-line goal is to create wealth, make erasing debt your top priority, Klein adds. "Debt is a drag on wealth that compounds negatively, stripping away your ability to out-save men in the race to retirement," she says. Household debt should be a big priority, especially if a women is coming out of a failed marriage. "If you're getting divorced, keep assets that generate long-term wealth," Klein states. "While you may feel emotionally attached to your home, a house is not an investment asset. Focus on retirement funds and other savings vehicles that can produce income in 20 years."