One of the biggest concerns I have as a Financial Advisor for Women is that my clients and their significant others remain healthy and active for as long as possible. Independence is very important as we grow older and it’s critical to have a Retirement Income Plan that includes who will take care of us as we grow older.
I recently wrote about an issue many women express to me about the fear of becoming a Bag Lady, which is closely related to women living longer than men. Making a plan for financial independence is SO important for women. That’s what we help you do!
It is hard to nail down an exact number between all the different sources today, but in general, a woman can expect to live to 81 years and a man to roughly 76. That is about 3 years more than in 1984, which isn’t bad considering all of the stress, delicious foods, entertainment, and other habits we have developed in the United States.
As we age, we face a harsh reality - one day, we may not be able to take care of ourselves. Perhaps it is dealing with a body that doesn’t want to move out of that soft couch as quickly as before or that we never planned for the financial repercussion of being on our own, and now it is up to our children, family, or friends.
Whatever the cause, the last thing we want to deal with is being forced into a rough living situation because of our age and a lack of funds.
Why are Women Living Longer and Outliving Men?
Women live longer than men for a number of reasons, but one of the most important is that women are more likely to have healthier lifestyles. Women are more likely to have a better diet and exercise regularly, while men are more likely to smoke and be obese.
In addition to their lifestyle choices, women’s bodies also seem better equipped to handle stress. We are outliving the desk jockeys of yesteryear just as much as the artisan bakers filling up city centers in today’s world.
By age 85, there are roughly six women for every four men. Of course, it could be we just are built for longevity. Our bodies are designed to give birth to another human being. That means we have to handle extreme pressure and stress.
Most likely, the biggest reason is that when we, as women, think there is a medical problem, we ask for help.
Women Living Longer: Who Takes Care of Women the Most?
Roughly 65% of all older people with long-term care need to rely on friends and family for assistance. The interesting thing about caregiving in the United States is that the majority of people giving such treatment are women. If you are an older person who needs assistance of any kind as you age, odds are you have a daughter, granddaughter, niece, or other female family relation offering help.
This is a double-edged sword. While it certainly helps to have women taking care of women because we last longer than men, it is hurting the mental stability and earning power of our younger female workers. Middle-aged women who provide care for a mother, aunt, or other aging family relation experience a significant increase in possible issues like depression or anxiety.
If you are a woman, chances are you will be a caregiver at some point during your lifetime. Research shows that women are more likely than men to become caregivers for children and aging parents. In fact, in 2018 more than 20 million Americans provided unpaid care for an elderly person and 2 million provided care for family members with disabilities or chronic health conditions. Women make up the majority of these caregivers.
Women Living Longer Than Men: What about Finances?
On average, women earn less than men. This could be because of the gender pay gap or because we tend to take more time off for family needs. Either way, it is still a fact in our country that we earn less over our lifetimes than our male partners.
This is a problem because that means we have less to invest in our futures. The other downside to that equation is that women tend to be more conservative investors than men. Women tend to invest in safer, less volatile investments because they are more risk-averse than their male counterparts.
This is an issue as we prepare for retirement. With fewer funds available for expenses and the growing cost of living, we are more reliant on our friends and family to fill in the gaps. This has caused many of us to go back to work when we are not capable or prepared for the long hours and toll it takes on our bodies.
How to Change this Situation
There is no magic wand that will suddenly shift how we view aging women in our society. While some would rather not face beautiful, strong, and elderly women trying to live a quality life, others, primarily our female family members, take on the burden.
Having the care we need and the freedom to live happily in our later years requires careful planning of our financial resources. Financial planning can help you get ready for retirement and create a plan that will evolve as your life circumstances change.
Financial planners use various tools to help you make the most of what you have. They can suggest strategies and products that allow you to save more money, pay off debt, and invest wisely so that when it comes time to retire, you’re not left with regrets about missed opportunities or empty pockets. A financial planner can also help you avoid mistakes that could cost thousands of dollars or slow down your ability to retire comfortably.
Regardless of whether you're single, married, or divorced, a sound financial plan will help you have the kind of life you want to have as you age.
It's important to note that financial planning is something everyone needs. Planning for tomorrow can help ensure your family can maintain its standard of living today and in the future.
Reach Out to Our Team
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why women live longer than men. Even though this is something that we all should be happy about, it is important to remember that it does not mean that we will have enough money when retirement comes. Even if you think that you have saved enough for retirement, there is always the possibility of losing everything due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness or unexpected death in the family.
That is why working with our experts at Meyers Financial Services is critical to buffering your loved ones from any circumstance in your later years. Even if you need to have a daughter or niece take care of you, knowing you have the financial resources to help so they are not overburdened is a significant weight off of anyone’s shoulders. Reach out to our experienced and professional team today and experience the difference a quality financial plan can make in your future.
Lillian Meyers CFP®, CDFA®, EA is a Financial Planner for Women in Sonoma, California helping clients live their best life through the use of financial planning, investment management, and other sophisticated financial options.