Ladies live longer than men, that’s a fact. Women will need more money in their retirement years than men, that’s a fact. Women need to learn how to manage their money better; Women need to learn about investing.   Ladies if you don’t learn the secrets to retirement planning you will not have enough money for your retirement years, that’s a fact.     There are 7 secrets woman need to learn to prepare financially for retirement, let’s look at them.

The Secrets To A Woman’s Retirement:

 

  • # 1 – Ladies, don’t start out behind.

Ladies do not be afraid of the financial markets.   Because women have this fear of making investment mistakes, they start out way behind.   It’s almost like we start out with a handicap.   Ladies we need to catch up.

If you work with a financial advisor that you trust, through their guidance you will not make investment mistakes.   Start studying; learn about investing, the stock market, mutual funds, market swings, market terminology.   With that knowledge you will understand what your advisor is talking about, which should help to eliminate some of the fear.

  • # 2 – Stop investing so conservatively.

By investing so conservatively, you are missing out on many growth opportunities.    An investment with low risk, has a low growth potential; higher risk investments have a higher opportunity for growth.  It’s almost like the sports coaches say “no pain, no gain”.  Ask your financial advisor to show you the differences between returns on low risk and high risk investments.

  • # 3 – Ladies start out earlier.

Women start investing too late.  Unfortunately, due to the way most ladies are brought up, they are not taught to read about financial planning or investing or to develop any interest in 401k’s or IRA’s or stock markets.   So women usually don’t start investing until they start jobs or get married.   We start too late in our lives and careers.

The effect of not starting out early enough in our lives is small investment account balances; so we have to over fund our accounts and sometimes that’s not enough to catch up.   With small account balances we also lose the benefits of compounding.

  • Secrets To A Woman's Retirement # 4 – Quit chasing lower returns.

Women select investments with lower returns because we are fearful of losing our investment money.  In other words, women pick “safe” investments; and “safe” investments usually have lower returns.

If we invested in more aggressive or slightly more risky investments we could earn more and our accounts would grow faster.    Work with a financial advisor on selecting a mix of investments; some high risk, some moderate, and some low.

  • # 5 – Rebalance your account once a year.

If you are investing in 401k retirement accounts, rebalance the account at least once a year. When you start investing in your 401k plan account, you should determine the investment allocation that fits your investment profile.   Work with a financial advisor to determine what investment mix you are most comfortable with.

By rebalancing your account you are simply adjusting your portfolio mix to keep the asset allocation the same as your original mix. Some 401k plans actually have automatic rebalancing features built-in, ask your 401k plan sponsor.  

  • # 6 – Watch your Expense Ratios.

Be aware of the expense ratios in your investments.   This is another secret to a lady’s retirement.  Higher expense ratios over the long-term just lowers your returns.

Your financial advisor or if you’re invested at work, your 401k plan administrator, will have a breakdown of the expense ratios of your 401k funds.   Expense ratios are built into all mutual funds, and you need to know what they are.  If the expenses are too high, they defeat the purpose of investing because the expense chips away at your return.

  • # 7 – Increase your Contributions.

There are 2 ways to grow your retirement accounts, growth in value or growth from your deposits .   To grow your 401k account, you must contribute to it on a consistent,  regular basis, regardless of market conditions.

Even when the market drops, continue to make your contributions; this is called “dollar cost averaging”.   You will miss some market opportunities if you only make your 401k contributions when the market is on an upswing.

Ladies, let’s catch up.   Do not be afraid of the market; study and learn about stocks and market swings, expense ratios and other market terminology. There are basic investment classes offered through local park districts, libraries and colleges – sign up. Ladies – face the fear, overcome the fear and get ready for your retirement years.