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Wealth & Well-Being

Women Need a Unique Approach to Planning for Retirement

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When it comes to planning for retirement, most of us all want the same things—a comfortable standard of living, sufficient income to last as long as we need it, and time to do the things that we enjoy.

In the process of getting there, however, there are different approaches that might be considered, especially when it comes to women. Many women feel they do a good job at managing their current finances but fall short when it comes to planning ahead. Most often, these limitations are due to a lack of adequate time to devote to planning for the future or a lack of understanding about where to begin.

Where does the time go?

In a 2015 Working Mother survey, working women with children reported a high level of dissatisfaction with the amount of personal time they have. Most of this unhappiness can be traced back to juggling the demands of work, career and family time. Moreover, an AARP study from last year found that women are more likely than men to be caregivers of elderly parents or parents-in-law. It's no wonder many women say they frequently feel overworked, overstressed and pulled in different directions.


When it comes to retirement planning, women are looking to find a solution or plan they trust is in their best interest. Though women are looking for an efficient approach to their retirement and financial planning, that is not to say that women don't want to be involved in the process. Historically, the assumption has been (from the financial services industry) that women didn't want to be included, and they weren't for a long time. 

Women want to be active in their own retirement planning. More than having a seat at the table or "leaning in", many women have a desire to be fully immersed in the planning process. Women also value interaction—many realize the importance that financial resources can have on their lives and beyond. Women look to build financial security for their children and families. They are also more likely to support charitable organizations as part of their financial plan.


Investing in retirement typically means taking on some degree of risk, as risk comes with any investment. The amount of risk that one should take is contingent upon several factors, most namely, each individual's financial goals, tolerance for risk, and time horizon. In many cases, a portfolio needs to see growth, but not by taking on more risk than one needs to in order to reach her goals.

We have established that planning is important to women, but often takes a back seat due to the many responsibilities pulling them in many directions. If you have waited until there isn't much time left to plan ahead, growth in a portfolio is critical to ensuring that there will be enough to last throughout your retirement and meet the goals that you have.

Taking on the appropriate amount of risk for your unique situation is an important component of a good financial plan. It can be helpful, when you are uncertain about how to make this decision, to seek the advice of a financial coach that can educate you and help you understand the decisions that need to be made.


When setting out to make a plan for your retirement, we recommend considering the following steps. This is a good start for those who may be looking to plan for retirement on their own, but it is important to remember that the process can sometimes be complex. Reaching out for guidance when needed could save a lot of time in the long run.

These steps are the same process that we use with our clients. It includes developing a plan that is built around an individual's unique goals and needs and takes into account their personal relationship with money.

1. Net worth is built over time and is made up of both your personal attributes and your money.

2. Have open, honest conversations about money with family members.

3. Create a vision, important financial decisions can be made for non-financial reasons.

4. Create security by doing the proper pre-planning that will provide resilience when unexpected events happen.

5. Look at cash flow and determine where your money is going. Knowledge is power. Are your current money choices aligned with what is important to you?

6. Be well. Good health is built and protected over time, just like your wealth.

"Financial well-being is dynamic and changes through the ebbs and flows of life. It is not all about things that can be measured, it is about how you feel too. You don't have to be wealthy to have financial well-being, and you may be wealthy and not have it."1

We have been hosting monthly retirement planning webinars to help people transition more successfully into retirement. For more information on taking positive steps toward a successful retirement visit our resources page and, should you have any questions, please call (603) 458-2776 or email us.

Written by Robin Young, CFP®

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