How Women Can Prepare for Retirement

by Daryl Dagit, Savant Capital Management

My mother-in-law was widowed when her husband of 40 years passed away after a brief illness. Suddenly, her financial destiny rested solely on her shoulders.

As the baby boomers age, I am seeing situations like this more and more. To complicate matters, men are usually the ones handling the financial decisions, while women generally live longer. An article published by USA Today states that nine out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some time during their lives, and while women are gaining financial control, their confidence often lags. Here are some steps you can take to gain more confidence and control when it comes to your finances.

Never stop learning. Attend the many classes offered locally (and often free of charge) by ICC’s Adult Community Programs (icc.edu/acp) and Bradley University’s OLLI program (bradley.edu/OLLI). Does your employer bring in a retirement plan advisor? Take advantage of his or her expertise, and make sure you are participating in your company’s 401(k) plan. Join a local investment club.

Surf the web. There is a wealth of information online, but make sure you read articles from known sources that are not biased by an organization trying to sell a product or service. MyMoney.gov is an excellent place to start, with easy-to-read articles on how to earn, borrow, save, invest and protect.

Consult friends and family. Do not be embarrassed to ask successful friends or family members for advice. And remember that the best advice usually comes from someone who has made a mistake!

Turn to a pro. According to a 2012 survey conducted by Hearts & Wallets, women are 42 percent more likely than men to be concerned about having enough money for retirement; 49 percent say they are "very inexperienced" with investing (versus 34 percent of men); and 42 percent say they are "very uncomfortable" taking on investment risk (compared with 28 percent of men). When searching for a professional to help put a customized plan in place, look for a Certified Financial Planner. A CFP certification is recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning. This type of professional can help you find confidence and clarity through a complete financial plan. In addition, an advisor registered as a fiduciary is required by law to put your best interests first.

It is never too late to start planning for your retirement. The sooner you get a plan in place, the sooner you can enjoy confidence, clarity and peace of mind. iBi

Daryl Dagit is the Market Manager, Financial Advisor in the Peoria office of Savant Capital Management. He can be reached at (309) 693-0300.

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