• Harry N. Stout

Are Women Less Prepared for Retirement?


Written by: Michele Burkholder, Founder of The Burkholder Team.


At least once a week, I come across an article that states women are less prepared for retirement, compared to their male counterparts. The articles generally state the following reasons why women are not keeping pace:

  1. On average, women make less than their male counterparts. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (iwpr.org), women who work full time, year round, made only 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man in 2018. Their analysis over a 15-year period brought that number down to 49 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

  2. Women are generally more likely to take time out from the work force to raise children or take care of an aging parent.

  3. As a result, many women have less saved for Retirement and lower Social Security benefits.

This puts many women behind the eight ball. While in general, this may be true, I also work with several female clients that are keeping pace or outpacing their male counterparts. What are they doing differently? Typically, they have taken the following actions:

  1. Maximize their contributions in their employer Retirement Savings Plan or Individual Retirement Account. At the very least, they contribute enough to maximize their employer match if they work in a corporation.

  2. Supplement their employer benefits with additional savings and other assets such as permanent life insurance. They don’t rely on their employer or company to solve all of their financial needs.

  3. Maintain an emergency fund so they don’t need to rely on high interest credit cards.

  4. Live well below their means.

Generally, these women, no matter what they earn, have created a mindset that saving is a priority over spending. They are generally more conservative. Not in how they invest, but how they spend their money. They make a conscious effort to match their spending with their values.


Whether you are male or female, what can you do if you find yourself in the situation that you haven’t prepared adequately for Retirement?

  1. Consider working longer if it is possible. I don’t believe there is a one size fits all age for when we should Retire. Many of us are using standards that were created by our parents and no longer fit our potential longevity and ability to contribute to the workforce.

  2. Understand your tax deferred savings options and seek to contribute as much as your budget will support.

  3. Understand Social security and effective strategy to maximize your benefit in the long term.

  4. Contribute to a Roth IRA if you are below the income threshold and/or consider a Roth conversion in 2020. Many anticipate that taxes may rise in 2021 due to the increasing budget deficit. Ask your tax professional if it makes sense to do a conversion in 2020.

  5. Pay off high interest credit card debt and only charge what you can afford to pay off within 30 to 60 days.

One of the keys to Retiring successfully is to create a realistic goal and time-line. As I mentioned in my June 24th post, 2020 is the best time to do some soul searching to determine if your spending and saving match your financial priorities. Of course, working with a Certified Financial Planner, can also help you with that assessment.

Michele Burkholder* is the Founder of The Burkholder Team, a family financial practice whose mission is to Provide Families, Business Owners & Their Employees Optimal Guidance to Help Them Reach Their Financial Goals.

*Registered representative of and securities offered through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC. (HTK), Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC 161 Washington Street, STE 700 Conshohocken, PA 19428 610-771-0800 The Burkholder Team and 1847Financial are not affiliated with Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC. HTK does not offer tax or legal advice.

For Educational Purposes Only – Not to be relied on as financial, tax, or legal advice. All investing involves risk and no investment strategy can assure a profit or protect against a loss in a down market. Life Insurance is subject to certain costs, limitations, terms, and conditions not outlined here. All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. 3164482RB_Jul22

2020 by NelsonWells, LLC

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