older woman walking There arethings women can do to improve their financial outlook as they age.(Photo: Shutterstock)

|

Women have it tough when it comes to finances. Not only do theymake substantially less than men, overall, they spend less time inthe workforce, carry higher levels of college debt and often don'thave access to a retirement plan at work.

|

All these things, in addition to others—serving as caregiversfor family members (and devoting not just time but precious incometo helping them), having less money with which to save forretirement, having to get by on lower Social Security because ofyears of lower income—all come together to create a perfect stormat retirement for many.

|

Women are more likely to end their days in poverty and to spendwhatever they might have less on long-term care (since they'reusually the caregivers, there's seldom anyone around to care forthem when they need it).

|

But there are things women can do to improve their financialoutlook as they age. According to Ellevest, women's salaries tend to hit theirpeak while they're still in their 40s, while men see salariescontinue to rise into their 50s—so one thing older women can do isfind ways to change that.

|

Whether it's jobhunting, now that employers are wary of askingfor salary histories (meaning that those earlier and inferiorsalaries don't have to set the pattern for your next job), takingclasses or certifying higher in their existing fields or moving toa new career path or taking on gig work, there are ways to makethat plateau go away.

|

In fact, Ellevest points out a couple of other, less-thought-ofstrategies: serving on a board (a paidposition) or even finding a younger colleague to act as a reversementor.

|

Then there are other ways to improve your existing financialsituation. If you don't invest, why not? Don't feel up to it? Learnmore about it so that your goals don't suffer because of low risktolerance.

|

And compare the rates of return of your savings account to whatyou can make in the market—interest rates are no match forinflation, and the older you get the more everything will cost.

|

Women tend to be better at investing than men, by the way,according to a 2017 Fidelity study, although they lack men's confidence—butthey don't invest as often, or as much. Change that and you canchange how much is in your retirement account for the better—maybea lot better.

|

If you have kids and they're grown, and if you've been payingtheir tab on anything from cellphones to student debt, considercutting them loose—or at least cutting them down and saving thedifference. You could always brainstorm with them about how toraise both your incomes or find better jobs, or both.

|

Jean Chatzky points out in a Next Avenue interview that continuing to pay your kids' wayis “sabotaging your own future,” and suggests you have a sit-downwith them in which you tell them, “I'm sorry, but I can't afford todo this for you right now. But I can sit down and help you try tofigure out a way to do it yourself.”

|

And get comfortable talking about money. It's easier to learnwhat you need to know when you're willing to have discussions aboutwhat can be an uncomfortable subject.

|

Chatzky also suggests in the interview that “When you reallytalk more about it, you can take some of the emotion out of it andit becomes more a tool to help you get the life that you want.”

|

READ MORE:

|

How salary-history ban laws are changinghiring

|

Life choices aren't to blame for gender paygap

|

7 places that pay women better thanmen

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.