As you enter the later years of life, one of your top priorities should be to ensure that you have the financial security needed to have a comfortable retirement. This is especially important for women because, on average, women live four to five years longer than men, they may make less money (either due to the gender pay gap or from interrupting their work to provide caregiving), and because they tend to have higher expenses in retirement. A higher life expectancy can lead to increased medical expenses, or even the cost of assisted living or nursing home care.
For all of those reasons, it’s important to prepare for your retirement ahead of time, and make sure you have a solid financial plan in place. Here are some helpful tips to get started:
- Get involved in the financial planning process as early as possible. If you have a spouse or loved one who has previously handled your finances, meet with them and work to get all the information you need to know – where to find important financial documents, how to pay the bills, and access to passwords for online banking, bill payment, and other accounts.
- Make a list of all of your financial assets and divide up by type of account (savings, retirement, etc.) and by asset category (real estate, stocks, jewelry, etc.) since they have different tax implications.
- Establish a relationship with an investment advisor and understand the level of risk associated with your investment portfolio. As you prepare for retirement, you may want to make adjustments to more stable, secure investments.
- Summarize your expenses (i.e. income needs). This should include things like your mortgage payment, car payment, utilities, groceries, insurance, etc. This will include fixed and variable costs, and should also be broken down by essential expenses and discretionary expenses to give you a clear view of how much money you’ll need to have in retirement to maintain your current lifestyle.
- Learn about any retirement accounts that you may already have and understand the options associated with any Pension Plans or other retirement accounts (IRA Rollovers, Annuities, etc.).
- Designate beneficiaries for all your financial assets, retirement plans, life insurance policies, annuities, etc.
- Update your estate planning documents (Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, etc.) to be sure that your assets pass to your heirs according to your wishes. See an Estate Tax Attorney to review.
- Determine when and how to apply for Social Security. Visit the Social Security website to learn more and to apply for benefits.
- Perform a risk analysis. Have a trusted professional review your insurance policies (life, auto, homeowners, umbrella, disability, medical) to ensure that you are adequately covered and not overpaying.
- Consider Long Term Care Insurance. An unexpected health event can have a serious impact on a family’s finances, and women are more likely than men to require long-term health care.
At Valley, we’re committed to helping with the financial services, networking support and resources they need to succeed – throughout all the phases of their lives. Visit our website or contact us to learn more.