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Teresa wolande explains the top 3 retirement issues facing women

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Saving for retirement can be a daunting task, especially so for women who are disadvantaged from the outset due to various financial and social circumstances. Now retired, Teresa Wolande currently resides in Naples, Florida and is the former CFO of a large ambulatory company in the United States. Since retiring from her long and successful career, she has dedicated herself to helping women make the transition from working to retired life. Part of her efforts have involved creating women’s forums in Florida to discuss this important phase. As a former woman in business and current retiree, Teresa Wolande has first-hand experience when it comes to the retirement issues facing women in America today. From the fact that women tend to live longer lives to the fact that they typically earn and save less money, there are numerous challenges women must recognize and overcome when developing a retirement plan. Continue reading to discover what Teresa Wolande considers to be the top three issues that women face surrounding retirement planning.

1. Women earn less and thus save less

In 2016, a report was published by the Senate Joint Economic Committee that found women earn an average of 19% less than men. The results were even more staggering for women of color, with African American and Latina women earning 40% and 45% less, respectively. While it may seem easy to brush off these statistics, when you consider what this lost income amounts to over time, the issue becomes much more significant than you may have initially thought. Teresa Wolande is also quick to note that this wage discrepancy grows even larger when you take into consideration the fact that most women will take at least one year off work when they have a child. In addition, research has shown that women are less likely to ask for a raise or negotiate their salaries, which results in a smaller, possibly even nonexistent increase in pay throughout their career. Though it may seem simplistic, earning less ultimately equates to less savings over time which has a direct impact on your retirement. 

2. Women live longer

The longer you live, the more money you need. Simple enough, right? However, the challenge here is that women tend to live longer than men. Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that the average life expectancy for women is 81, compared with 76 for men. A few years might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but if you consider how much money you spend annually, between the necessities like food and housing, and the non-essentials like vacations and cultural activities, you’ll quickly realize how those extra years can add up. Financial Finesse completed a study in 2016 entitled “Gender Gap in Financial Wellness” that found women need to save 1.5% more than men each year in order to achieve their retirement savings goals. Given that on average, women earn less than men, you can start to understand the conundrum that this issue poses. Teresa Wolande claims that overall, women are at a distinct disadvantage from the outset, having to save more than men to support their longer lives, yet consistently earning less than men throughout their careers. 

3. Women are disproportionately victims of elder abuse

According to Teresa Wolande, women face a much higher degree of elder abuse than men — in fact, two thirds of elder abuse victims are female. This in part relates to the point above, that women tend to live longer than men, as it’s often women who live alone who are specifically targeted. In addition, some people prey on elderly women because they believe them to have little knowledge of their own finances. By this logic, women are more susceptible to falling for financial schemes. The results of falling prey to an unethical financial salesperson can be catastrophic, especially in one’s old age when they likely do not have a source of income to fall back on. This can mean that even if a woman was able to save enough for retirement throughout her career, she is still at risk of losing control of her finances due to elder abuse. Teresa Wolande suggests the following to those with elderly parents, especially parents who live alone: check in on them often, monitor who visits their home, and even who calls and emails them regularly, conduct background checks on care workers hired to help them, and finally, ask to be a co-signer on their bank account in case of emergency.

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