As compared to men, women encounter more challenges to achieving a financially secure retirement. Research shows that women generally live longer, earn less, and spend fewer years in the work force because of family caregiving responsibilities. In addition, more women than men rely on Social Security as their sole source of retirement income.
In recent years, many organizations have developed resources to help women become more aware of the special issues they face, and to encourage them to become more proactive in preparing for their retirement years.
One example is the “For Women” web site (www.ssa.gov/women) sponsored by the Social Security Administration. At this site, women can obtain an estimate of their benefits, learn how marriage, divorce, or widowhood will affect their benefits, and even complete an online application to start receiving their benefits. One of the best features of this site is the series of topic areas that are focused on the needs and concerns of women at specific life stages: bride, new mother, working women, caregiver, widow, divorced spouse, and beneficiary.
Tips, Tools, & Tactics
In a collaborative effort, The National Center for Women and Aging (at Brandeis University) and the POWER-Center have developed an online resource, “Tips, Tools, & Tactics: The Best Resources for Women’s Financial Planning,” www.heller.brandeis.edu/bestresources/.
Organized in subject areas (including Credit and Debt, Investment and Savings, Life Transitions, Housing, and Paying for Health Care), this interactive, web-based directory identifies and links to resources that are readable, understandable, accurate, and timely.
Women’s Institute for Financial Education
The Women’s Institute for Financial Education (WIFE) is dedicated to providing financial education to women in their quest for financial independence. In addition to providing information and resources, WIFE sponsors Money Clubs. Unlike narrowly-focused investment clubs, Money Clubs focus on all aspects of money management. Members discuss their money truths and dreams and encourage each other to meet savings goals, reduce debt, budget their expenses, and plan for a happy and productive retirement.
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