Saving For Retirement – Why is it Important? How Do I start?

Saving for Retirement – As a mom, this may seem like the furthest thing from your mind as you chase your children around or drop them off at daycare. But consider this: the average life expectancy in the United States is 77, and for women it is generally higher. 

So, if you life to be 85 or 90, you will definitely need to plan to have some money put aside for retirement. The Enron scandal taught us that we can’t depend on corporate pensions. 

What about social security? Can’t you count on that? Read this somewhat chilling statement taken directly from the US Social Security website: 

”Unless changes are made, when you (talking about a person who is currently 35 years of age) reach age 60 in 2040, benefits for all retirees could be cut by 26 percent and could continue to be reduced every year thereafter. If you lived to be 100 years old in 2080 (which will be more common by then), your scheduled benefits could be reduced by 30 percent from today's scheduled levels.” 

Because I believe the above statement is actually extremely optimistic, it is important for women (including moms) to put aside money for the day when they will retire.

 Below are some tips for saving for retirement: 

1. You will probably not need your current income once you retire. Of course this depends somewhat on your lifestyle now, and what you are used to. However, most experts agree that you will need about 70-80% of your current salary when you retire. Bear in mind when saving for retirement that you will no longer be paying for diapers, children’s clothing and education, and other child-related expenses. 

2. Sit down and write down a plan, envisioning what your expenses will be when you retire. You may need the help of a financial planner for this. Will your house be paid off? Do you plan on a lot of travel? Will you need two cars when you are retired? Remember, the one expense that will definitely go up is your medical spending—particularly in the area of prescription drugs. 

3. Participate in your employer’s 401K or other retirement plan if possible. If you are working outside your home, never pass up the chance to contribute to a retirement plan. Remember, many employers will match your contribution. Be sure to contribute enough to qualify for an employer match. 

4. Start your own retirement savings account. If you need assistance deciding which account to choose, read our article on the different kinds of savings accounts. For additional help, feel free to contact a financial planner. Remember, even a little bit of money saved every year can add up over the long term. 

Finally, do not depend on anyone—including your spouse or a significant other, for your retirement, no matter how great your relationship is. A big part of a commitment to living debt free includes planning ahead for the future. 

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