Women are Warriors
Being a woman ain’t easy (but you knew that). We are pulled in several directions with little time for ourselves. I know this firsthand. In the past 9 months, I have gotten married, our son moved in, we bought a home, and my parents moved to California to be our neighbor. Oh, and did I mention my husband and I became business owners at the same time? Are you exhausted just reading this? I am.
My situation, however, is not unlike many young women who are caught between holding down a job or starting a business, raising a family, and helping their aging parents. Life happens and as women, we take the bull by horns! But, it isn’t easy and it requires a lot of coordination and financial resources, not to mention strength and a whole lot of patience!
And as good as we are with all of these, not everything can be a top priority and some things will inevitably fall by the wayside. For many of us, we feel as though we have to choose between a job and family. When we choose the latter, we lose income, promotion opportunities, and fall behind on essential job skills and training. It also means we fall behind on retirement planning. The problem? We live longer. The years we are not saving for retirement in accounts such as 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s, and IRAs, we stand to lose thousands in investment gains that would sustain us in our golden years. Also, when determining our Social Security benefit, non-working years are calculated at $0. The Social Security Administration uses our top 35 years of earnings to determine our monthly benefit. Those 0’s will bring down our average earnings and therefore decrease our benefit.
But it isn’t all bad news! If you have a working spouse, you are able to contribute to a spousal IRA based on his/her earnings. This means in 2019, you are able to contribute up to $6,000 or $7,000, if you are age 50 or over. While this does not help Social Security earnings, if you are married and your spouse is paying into Social Security, you are able to claim benefits on his/her earnings record as early as age 62.
Now, what about those of us who are unmarried (single, divorced, widowed)? There may not be a choice between working and raising a child/children, or helping to take care of aging parents. It will be exponentially more difficult to find time to make a financial plan and get your life in order so you can continue to take care of everyone. Having a plan, a budget, and automating savings will be one less thing you have to worry about.
As women, we are warriors! We feel we can do it all, but sometimes it is at the expense of our own well-being. Let’s ensure we also remain a priority. Exercise, good nutrition, and financial wellness all play a part. Women have unique needs and it is important to ensure not only our family is taken care of, but we take care of ourselves as well.