Kathy Berger, Financial Professional, Prudential
Many American women spend less time in the full-time workforce, as they juggle family and work responsibilities Multiple demands on their time and money mean they may have fewer opportunities to accumulate pensions and retirement savings. And despite some progress, women generally still earn less than men in comparable positions. They also live longer than men. This is not a good combination for creating financial security in retirement. Overcoming these odds takes an attitude shift that makes saving for the future a priority, a plan of attack with defined goals, and the discipline to stick with it.
Refocus Your Priorities
Samuel Johnson once said, “Resolve not to be poor, whatever you have, spend less.” Two good thoughts there: first, make a conscious decision to break the spending habit and change your mindset into a saving state. Secondly, find creative ways to save additional money that you can then invest for retirement. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
…Pay off outstanding credit card debt as soon as possible. Get out from under the burden of high interest rates and finance charges. Resolve to pay cash whenever possible.
…Have your paycheck deposited directly into your bank account and set up automatic monthly deductions for investment accounts if you can. Although automatic deductions make it easy to stay on track, please remember that they do not assure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets.
…Shop around – for a car, a mortgage, shoes for the kids. Don’t pay more than you have to. Negotiate on everything – you may be surprised to find you can pay less for things, just by asking for a deal. Re-use, recycle, and repair whenever possible.
…Borrow instead of buy. Your public library is a great source for free books, magazines, music and movies.
…Re-examine your monthly accounts for phone bills, television, Internet access, cell phones, and more. Are there cheaper alternatives? Investigate using a package of services from just one provider with a single, consolidated smaller bill.
…Simplify your life. Sell unused furniture, cars, clothes, jewelry, books, toys and household items. Yard sales and online auction sites have taught us that there is a buyer for virtually anything.
…Invest, rather than spend, any windfalls you may get, from lottery or gambling winnings, bonuses, gifts, income tax refunds, inheritances, or yard sale profits.
Consider raising the deductibles on your insurance coverages. Your premiums will be less, and you can invest the difference.
Discipline Makes the Difference
Start small – don’t try to accomplish everything all at once. Educate yourself about saving, investing – and financial strategies. See a financial professional to help get started right, and then stick to your strategy and revise it as your situation changes. There is a wealth of resources available online, in the library, and in the phone book.
0180132-00001-00, Ed 6/3/2010, Exp 11/26/2011