Women and retirement: Investments need to work harder

Women and retirement: Investments need to work harder
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Published March 20th, 2016 - 07:06 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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If you survive for 15 more years after retirement, at least 33 per cent of your cost of living must be saved to ensure the same lifestyle in the future. (Shutterstock)
If you survive for 15 more years after retirement, at least 33 per cent of your cost of living must be saved to ensure the same lifestyle in the future. (Shutterstock)
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Chanda Lokendra

Women have to work their investments harder to help improve their retirement income. Lower salaries and time out of the workforce to raise families leave women with less than half the retirement savings of men, according to a recent ANZ study.

This, in fact, is a huge limiting factor for the limiting lifestyles that women may have to choose later in their lives. We cannot completely examine the problem, but in the meantime, we can find how can women make the most of what they've got?

1. Set your goals

Women must define their personal retirement goals first. Joint accounts and joint money are not yours alone. They belong to the family and will be used in times of need by the family. Your retirement money is different from the savings that you do for the family's future requirements.

Your personal goal will be based on the lifestyle you aspire and dream to live in future. Do you want to be dependent on others or you want your freedom? Do you want a small lifestyle or you want to live king size? Do you have clear goals for lifestyle? Once you know what kind of lifestyle you want, you can set your financial goal for retirement. If today your cost of living is $10,000 a month, you might need $10,000 or even more (with inflation) on your retirement.

2. Have your own retirement plan

If you've worked for several different employers who have paid your end-of-term benefits at different times, you must keep this money aside for its righteous use. Consolidate the accounts into one place to keep track of your funds more easily. It's easy to do.

Professional advice may help you find the right product to invest your money for retirement, keeping longevity and the retirement purpose in mind. However, the trick here is to have a single retirement plan exclusively for yourself. Purpose is simple...have enough money for retirement to maintain your desired lifestyle.

3. Check for lost money

It might be worthwhile to check the investment papers you have in your locker. More or less, over a period of time, we tend to forget our old small investments. Make an effort for finding unclaimed money, in case you've lost track of funds over the years.

Find the details of the joint plans that you have and designate them towards your retirement appropriately. Take an expert advice on how to revive and refurbish your old plans. Every single penny that you save while you earn will help fill the retirement tank.

4. Take an interest in your fund

Once you have invested your hard-earned money in any systematic investment plan, look closely at your fund on regular basis, most can be accessed online. I call it dusting. Check the investment options and whether they match your stage of life and the amount of risk you're happy to take.

Also, consider the insurance options available. Retirement plans must be backed by life insurance, total and permanent disability cover, critical illness and income protection. Do a double check on what you want in your retirement plan and if you have it all. Expert advice is a must here as you may not know all the benefits available in the market.

5. Sacrifice some salary

Average mortality rate in the region is 75 years. If you retire at 60, you will have 15 more years to live your life, assuming you live till 75. Most of us start working by 25, that leaves us with 35 years to work. Now if you survive for 15 more years after retirement, at least 33 per cent of your cost of living must be saved to ensure the same lifestyle in the future.

Keeping the lifestyle unchanged, at old age, one must not forget to consider increased hospital costs and doctor's bills. Your personal requirements may reduce, but cost of living will increase and your medical bills as well. And, of course, inflation will always remain high on head.

Let your salary pay you after your retirement. Sacrifice a part of your salary religiously towards your retirement.

By Chanda Lokendra Kundnaney

The writer is an entrepreneur and financial planning consultant. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

 
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