Why Women Need To Save Almost Twice As Much As Men For Retirement

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Why Women Need To Save Almost Twice As Much As Men For Retirement

Stannah International - Flickr / Ken Teegardin - Wikimedia

Unless you're already retired, planning for your future is probably a major concern.

Even in their 20s, young workers start piling extra cash into the RRSPs.

And the old chestnut our parents told us is that 10% of your income after taxes should be stowed away.

But if you're a woman, new research shows that's not enough. And the real number you should be saving is nearly twice as high.

Live Long And Prosper

Income strategist Diane Garnick reports that while saving 10% could be enough for men, women should aim to put away 18% of their after tax income.

The main reason to build up a bigger nest egg is straightforward: women live longer than men, and so they need more money to support themselves.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average American woman lives a full five years longer than the average American man - 81 years compared to 76.

That means if an average man and average woman both retired at 65, she would need to provide for herself over 16 years, while he just needs 11.

Asking her partner to chip in to her RRSP can even things out, but not all women have that luxury.

Almost half of American women over 65 were living alone in 2012, while just 25% of men were.

Out Of Balance

Along with the age gap, women also have to plan for a wealth gap.

Between age 25 and 34, women earn just 89 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to Pew Research.

Research by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that, over the average woman's lifetime, she earns $1 million less than the average man.

And there are other concerns that eat into a woman's retirement cash.

Women leave the workforce more often than men - mainly to raise children and take care of sick family members.

Garnick's paper says that on average an average American man works for 38 years while his female counterpart only works for 28.

And when women finally reach retirement age, there's still more to pay - mainly in healthcare costs.

Just on a visit-by-visit basis, women already pay more than men for healthcare. An average woman pays $5,246 in yearly out-of-pocket expenses while a man pays just $4,125.

Remember: a retiree's expenses will be even higher, regardless of Medicare coverage.

A healthy 55-year-old woman can expect to pay $522,827 for health care in retirement, assuming she retires at 65 and lives to the ripe old age of 89.

A healthy man who follows the same schedule (but dies at age 87) will only pay $444,007. To make matters worse, women tend to earn less from Social Security payments.

But don't let these numbers convince you that you can't save for retirement.

Planning proactively, consulting a financial adviser, and investing in your health (through diet and exercise) will pay off for years to come.

Did you know the costs for women to retire were so much higher?

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