Saving for retirement is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for women. Women tend to live longer than men, but they may not spend as many years in the workforce and they may not earn as much. Because of this, women tend to lag behind men when it comes to retirement savings.
On average, a 65-year-old man can expect to live to be about 83, while a 65-year-old woman can expect to live to nearly 86, according to data from the Social Security Administration. That means a woman’s savings need to stretch that much further. But in a survey released in March by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, women reported far lower retirement savings than men. The median savings for women was only $34,000, compared with $115,000 for men.
The survey also found that the percentage of women who had no retirement savings was higher than the percentage for men. Women also tended to be less confident about their ability to retire in comfort, according to the survey of over 4,000 U.S. workers.
Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re on track:
- Start saving for retirement, if you haven’t already. Make regular, consistent additions to your savings.
- If you’re already saving, increase the amount you save. Even a small increase will make a difference over time. (Try adding 1 percent of your salary, then bump it up next time you get a raise.)
- Educate yourself about retirement savings and investments.
- Learn more about your NYSLRS retirement benefits. There is a lot of good information in your Member Annual Statement. You may also wish to read the NYSLRS publication How Do I Prepare to Retire?
- Learn more about your Social Security
- If you are close to retirement, make a retirement budget.
- Talk to a financial adviser.
- Make a retirement plan. Write it down. And revisit it periodically.
A defined benefit plan, such as the NYSLRS retirement benefit, provides a monthly pension payment for life. But, savings are still important as a supplement to a pension and Social Security, a hedge against inflation and a resource in an emergency.