This book tells why women need to create several stackable income streams to empower retirement security (SISTERS) and provides effective strategies for women of any age to achieve successful and secure retirement lifestyles.What is the Sister’s Perspective?
The book is told from the perspective of the four Strong sisters –- one married, one divorced, one widowed and one who never married – and shows how each sister’s circumstances influenced the retirement planning decisions she would need to make on her journey to retirement success. (The Strong sisters are a narrative reflection of my three sisters and me – one married, one divorced, one widowed and one who never married.)
Why did you write this book?
I would like to start a national conversation about women and retirement planning.
I believe that women are secretly embarrassed by, even ashamed of their finances and retirement planning, so they avoid talking about it. If they don’t talk about it, it can’t improve.
Also, it’s not women’s fault that they are behind in retirement saving if there are structural factors that contribute to this, such as a lifetime of lower earnings, fewer promotions and retirement packages, and leaving the workforce for childcare and eldercare.
Is retirement planning for women different from retirement planning for men?
Yes. Women typically have a different retirement experience from men, so women need to take a very different, non-traditional approach to retirement planning.
How is women’s retirement experience different from men’s?
- Women enter retirement with less in savings due to a lifetime of lower earnings. Currently women earn approximately one-fourth less than men and when they started their careers, the wage gap was even greater (Source: US Census Bureau).
- The average woman is calculated to lose $431,000 over a forty-year career (Source: Glynn, Sarah Jane. Power, Audrey. Center for American Progress, “The Top 10 Facts about the Wage Gap: Women are Still Earning Less than Men across the Board.” April 16, 2012).
- Women receive on average one fourth less in Social Security benefits.
- Women get fewer promotions (for example, less than 5% of Fortune 500 Company CEOs are women), so they typically don’t get the rich retirement packages that men more often do.
- Women are more likely to leave the workplace for childcare and eldercare and spend discretionary income on care, reducing their resources of time and money for retirement saving.
- Men tend to remarry if they become widowed or divorced, sharing expenses. Women tend to remain single and live alone, incurring the highest per capita household expenses.
- Women live longer in retirement with fewer resources.
Why do women need to consider a “non-traditional” approach to retirement planning?
For women who may be behind in retirement savings, the old method of trying to save enough for retirement by the time they retire may not be enough. Women need to think about how they can create several stackable income streams and income for life.
What are some of the non-traditional strategies women should embrace?
Women need to employ different retirement strategies from men, such as:
- Create several stackable income streams to empower retirement security.
- Consider non-traditional residence sharing. For example, a single woman with a large house with empty bedrooms could rent them out to other women; they could then all save money on housing and deploy that savings into retirement investments.
- Pool resources. Women could pool their resources to make investments.
- Start a home-based business. What do an artist, a bookkeeper and a marketing person have in common? The makings of an instant start-up, if they were to pool their talents.
- Always be earning. Women will need income throughout their retirement and are increasingly unlikely to receive pension income. They could work part-time in retirement and invest in income vehicles, such as annuities, bonds and dividend stocks.
- Work longer. Women may need to work longer due to having less in retirement savings.
- Delay / maximize social security benefits as possibly the only pension women will receive. Social Security is guaranteed to increase at a rate of 8% per year (for Boomers) for every year individuals delay taking their benefit up to age 70. That can make a tremendous difference in retirement income.
What is a SISTERS Club?
A SISTERS Club is a community of women who come together to brainstorm and strategize about how to create retirement income. It is a safe environment where women can share their retirement planning experiences, fears, hopes and dreams in confidentiality and friendship. It is a Club where women can pool their talents and resources to develop retirement income vehicles.
What can women do now about their own retirement?
Women need to recognize the role they play in their own retirement planning process, and take responsibility now for their retirement prosperity and well-being.
Women need to become financially literate and self-empowered.
Women should meet with a financial advisor who shares their values.