Women’s history month is a time to honor the women who have accomplished amazing feats and made great strides in equality (with still more work to be done). It is also a great time to look to the future – your future.

When it comes to retirement planning, women have greater challenges to overcome.

Here’s the situation:1
• Three out of four working women earn less than $30,000 per year
• Women earn less and therefore receive half the average pension benefits of men
• Women live longer than men, requiring their money to last longer
• Women have more sporadic work histories as a result of caring for children or elderly parents
• 71% of the nation’s 4 million elderly poor are women
• Women tend to be more intimidated about financial issues, less informed about ways to secure their financial future and are more conservative investors

Now for some good news! With a little early planning, you can make a huge difference.

Invest in yourself.

Employer-sponsored retirement savings plans allow for compound growth and many employers will match your contribution up to a certain percentage. Find out how much your employer will match and strive to save at least enough to get the full match — otherwise you could be missing out on “free money”.

Know when you can claim Social Security.

For most women, Social Security is a significant part of their retirement picture, and the right Social Security claiming strategy can make a huge difference. Just because you can start receiving Social Security benefits at age 62 doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Keep in mind that your benefits continue to grow 6-8 percent per year until age 70. That can make a meaningful difference in your income in retirement.2

Get help.

Getting advice from a professional can help you make the right decisions today and feel better about your future. Talking with an independent advisor can be a great first step for getting a personalized retirement plan in place.

1 The Money Conference for Women; YWCA Hartford Region with Honorary Chair Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, held Saturday, October 20, 2018 http://www.ywcahartford.org/what_we_do/money-conference/about/overview.html
2 https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/