Retirement Planning Advice for Women

Since women face different challenges in retirement planning, from gender wage gaps to longer lifespans, women planning to retire need to be proactive and start planning early for their retirement. Gaining financial knowledge, considering future needs, maintaining employable skills, and increasing income can help women develop successful retirement plans. The best way to start is by reading retirement planning advice for women.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Women and retirement header


  • Only 46% of women workers have retirement plans or participated in retirement plans
  • Women workers have different concerns and needs for retirement than men
  • Planning for retirement is the best way to ensure retirement is stress free

Getting a head start on retirement planning is a smart move. It allows you to take steps today that will set you up for a better future. Especially for women, it’s important to be proactive about the process and familiarize themselves with retirement planning.

How is retirement planning different for women? Women’s circumstances can affect their ability and willingness to make retirement plans early. Due to the gender pay gap, women often have less money to save for retirement.

Why retirement planning is different for women

They also tend to live longer than men, so they need more earnings to support themselves. Lastly, raising the family and decreasing debt are more important for many women than planning for retirement. If you need help getting your investments and finances in order for retirement, our guide on banking and finance law may be helpful.

One piece of retirement advice for women is to save money on insurance policies so that you can put more money into your retirement plan. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool above to find the best rates in your area for your insurance policies, whether it is home or auto insurance.

Women’s Retirement Planning Steps

To prevent common issues from hindering your retirement plans, there are a series of tips you can follow. Read on for a more detailed explanation of our best retirement tips and investment advice for women.

Gain Financial Knowledge

While retirement may seem far off when women are in their 30s, not learning about finances early on can lead to regrets later. When asked about their retirement planning regrets, women reported that their failure to get involved in family finances and gain knowledge from a professional was a mistake.

Increasing financial knowledge

To avoid these errors, you can increase your financial literacy by reading articles and watching informative videos on the topic. You may also want to check your local community college for beginner finance classes or see if any free courses are offered online.

While it may seem time-consuming to learn about personal finance, you are investing in your future, which is well worth the time spent.

Kristin Burton Quote

In addition, rather than letting a partner take the lead on financial planning, you can and should play a role in the process too. Increasing familiarity with personal finance will help you feel more confident and prepared to handle retirement plans.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, developing knowledge of personal finance is beneficial in the long term.

Consider Future Needs

To understand how much to save for retirement, it’s important to think about future expenses. For example, knowing the cost of long-term care options gives you critical information for retirement planning.

If you don’t accurately estimate how much money you will need for retirement, you face running out of assets early in retirement.

Planning for long-term

Unfortunately, many people underestimate just how much they need to save for retirement. In addition to living costs, there may be unexpected costs that arise. As women age, more healthcare problems may arise, resulting in pricy medical bills.

Retired women may also become involved in new hobbies or travel, which may require spending a bit more than is in the retirement budget. And since women face unique financial planning challenges that men don’t, it is vital for women to be heavily involved in their finances. 

Women often live longer than men, meaning they may have to pay for more years of assisted living and health care for medical needs. In addition, since women earn less than men on average, they have less money to put into the future care they need.

The result? Women need to start their financial planning as soon as possible, as they face outliving a spouse or outliving their assets.

Aysha Turgut Quote

Once you determine your future needs, you can take the necessary steps to reach your retirement goals. Don’t wait until tomorrow to get started, as financial planning for the future shouldn’t wait. Read on to see how you can maintain your employable skills so that you don’t have to put off your career to raise children.

Maintain Employable Skills

After leaving the workforce to take care of children, many women are left without a path back into their desired industry once they wish to return to work.

It can be tempting for women to give up on the career path they once had, but having children and leaving to raise them doesn’t mean their career has to be on hold forever.

staying in the workforce

To stay employable, you should keep pursuing your education, maintaining industry knowledge, and making connections. As a result, you’ll have more opportunities to accumulate savings.

For example, women in the medical field (nurses, midwives, etc.) should keep up with their registration and not let it lapse. Staying up to date, even while raising kids, helps the transition back into the workplace go smoothly.

Cecile Hult Quote

Some of the ways women can stay involved in their careers and keep their resumes up to date when raising children include:

  • Participating in related non-profit work
  • Staying in contact with your network
  • Staying up to date with industry advancements
  • Taking part-time courses in your industry

Staying connected to an industry while raising children helps make going back to work less overwhelming and daunting.

Increase Annual Earnings

One of the most important things that women can do to increase earnings is learning to negotiate. Women tend to accept the salary they’re offered, but negotiating can be a powerful way to boost income.

Knowing your value and frequently asking for higher salaries, raises, and promotions are tactics that allow you to earn more money to use for retirement.

learn to negotiate

The number one thing that holds women back from asking for a raise is fear. If you are nervous about negotiating, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can follow to get the salary you deserve, from asking for an exact number to organizing your thoughts beforehand. 

The worst that can happen is a company says no. Even if you are turned down the first time, don’t stop asking for raises and promotions. Eventually, your hard work and persistence will pay off.

Meg Mara Quote

In addition, you can increase earnings by pursuing self-employment through side jobs or forms of passive income like dividend stocks and digital file sales.

You should also look into retirement accounts like a 401(k) or Roth IRA. Some employees provide these accounts and will match what you put into it each year. If you don’t have a retirement account through work, you should still open one.

self-employment opportunities (1)

Women who utilize self-employment opportunities and create passive income will be able to put more money toward their retirement.

If you aren’t familiar with passive income opportunities, make sure to talk to a financial advisor. They can help with discovering which investment opportunities are best for you and explain any confusing financial terminology.

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Prioritize Retirement Planning

Whether it’s prioritizing other things or feeling intimidated by the prospect of planning, taking steps for retirement isn’t always a primary concern for women. However, starting early allows you to invest in a more comfortable future.

making retirement a priority

Women should start planning for retirement as soon as they start earning their first paycheck, which is usually in their early 20s. Investments made 30 years ago will have earned a significant amount more than investments made 10 years ago.

Even if you can only put away a thousand a year towards retirement in your 20s, this amount will have grown substantially by the time you are in your 60s.

Take a look at the graphic below to see what are the four basic steps of retirement planning to avoid regrets later.

How to avoid retirement planning regrets

A great way to begin the process is by opening a retirement account, either through your employer or another IRA option. As we discussed earlier, even if your employer doesn’t have retirement accounts for employees, it is important for you to open up a retirement account. It is one of the most important steps in preparing for your future retirement.

Once you make your account, consider automating your withdrawals to simplify your savings method. Take a look at the other tips below for making the most out of your retirement money.

Tips for women's retirement investments (1)

Retirement planning is essential for everyone, but women deal with certain conditions that can prevent them from taking charge of the process and lead to issues later.

To counteract these circumstances, you can gain financial literacy and stability, shift savings priorities, and see your retirement plans come to fruition.

Frequently Asked Questions: Women’s Retirement

Planning for retirement can be confusing and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Many women have questions about how to retire, from when to retire to how much money to save for retirement. Read on to see the answers to commonly asked questions about retirement for women.

#1 – At what age do most single women retire?

The age for single-woman retirement is the same as the average age for retirement for the general population, which is age 65 or older. Retiring before age 65 is considered early retirement.

#2 – How much should a single woman have saved for retirement?

If you are looking into retirement as a single woman, it is important to put enough aside each year to have a stress-free retirement. Most experts recommend saving around 15% of your income every year to put toward your retirement fund.

If you need help calculating what this is, look up a retirement calculator to help you see how much you should be setting aside annually.

#3 – What percentage of women contribute to a retirement account?

According to the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), only about 46% of women workers have invested in retirement plans.

#4 – What are the first three steps to retirement planning?

As covered earlier, the first and most important steps are to gain financial knowledge, consider future needs, and maintain employable skills. Make sure to also read and write down retirement advice and wishes for the future, so you can plan accordingly.

#5 – What is a good retirement gift for a woman?

During retirement, it’s better to worry about things like travel insurance for trips abroad than if a retirement plan will provide enough income. Therefore, the best retirement gift to give yourself is a sustainable retirement plan so that you can live comfortably and enjoy your retirement years.

However, if you are looking for retirement gifts for women to celebrate retirement, there are plenty of great ideas to be found, from customized wine glasses to travel books.

Now that you’ve read up about women’s retirement planning, find savings to put toward your retirement plan with our free insurance comparison tool that will help you find the best insurance rates in your area.

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