Saving for Retirement When You're Not Working
When 32-year-old Eveline found out she was pregnant she began counting the months until her baby's arrival…. and she could leave her full-time job as a sales representative for a pharmaceutical firm.
Eveline is just one of a growing trend of women who weave in and out of the full-time work force. Many women experience sequences, or seasons, in their work life. Women often leave the work force for a season to pursue a career change that requires additional training such as going back to school to earn a degree or get certified. Women often make work transitions for personal or family needs such as relocating for a spouse, and caring for children or other family members. Women also encounter difficult seasons such as unemployment or looking for part-time work that pays a living wage.
Even though women can have a varying work history or seasons of employment, it is important to continue saving for retirement. Often women plan to rely on their husband's income, benefits and savings for their own personal retirement income. However, it is critical for women to create their own retirement savings because women outlive men by an average of five to seven years. The average age of widowhood is 55 and the average life expectancy is 77. If a woman plans to rely solely on her husband's savings and he dies first, his employer pension drops significantly as well as his Social Security survivor benefits. In fact, only 21 percent of widows receive survivor income based on their husband's pension, and the average widow receives only 40 percent of the Social Security benefits of a married couple. Women who become divorced also face retirement hurdles if they have not created their own personal retirement savings for the future.
There are a few keys to staying focused on, and finding money to allocate to, retirement during a season of unpaid work, reduced salary, or unemployment.