As a financial adviser, I hear firsthand what boomer women worry about. Of course, all women are not alike: We have unique lifestyles, careers and aspirations. Still, getting older seems to yield surprisingly similar financial worry-lists for us. Here is a list of the top five fears that my clients bring me, and some ideas about how to turn these worries into opportunities.
- Will I get laid off so that my employer can hire someone younger and cheaper to take my place? And if that happens, will anyone hire me at my age?
- I don't think I've saved enough for retirement. Will I run out of money?
- I want to invest my money, but I don't want to lose any money. The stock market is scary. What should I do?
- I don't think I can do this job for much longer. Can I afford to change to a lower-paying career?
- How can I help my children or my parents financially and take care of myself?
- Women feel more pressure than men to appear youthful to stay relevant.
- Women often leave the workforce for years to care for children and parents, making it harder to save for retirement.
- Women are more conservative (or fearful) investors than men.
- Women earn less than men for similar work.
- Women are left out of executive suites and boards, earning less and wielding less influence over workplace culture.
Hire a professional to prepare a comprehensive financial plan that's personalized for you, and follow through on the recommendations provided. Financial plans will show whether you're saving enough, whether you're investing for an adequate return, whether you can afford to help loved ones financially, and when you'll be able to retire or change careers for lower pay. A financial professional will also help you to understand if you are properly insured, are taking advantage of all the tax-savings opportunities available to you, and if you have a sound estate plan. You can find a financial adviser from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors or the Financial Planning Association. Or, if you're a do-it-yourselfer, you can build your own financial plan with help form websites like Learnvest.
Maximize all retirement savings opportunities that the Internal Revenue Service allows, including workplace retirement plans, individual retirement accounts and even annuities. If you max out all other retirement savings options and can save more, invest via taxable accounts.
Hire a professional to invest your money or get educated about investing and do it yourself. Leaving too much money in low-yielding investments -- such as bank savings and checking accounts, money-market accounts or certificates of deposit -- will increase chances that you won't have enough money in retirement. It's important to assess your need for return vs. your risk tolerance.
Don't wait -- you aren't getting any younger.