How women can meet the challenges of retirement

Investing & Retirement

Women today are more in control of financial management than ever before. In fact, a majority oversee the day-to-day administration of their household finances. But when it comes to long-term financial planning, there’s an opportunity for you to get more actively involved—especially when it comes to retirement income planning. A recent survey found that more than half of Millennial women (54%) defer to their spouses on long-term financial decisions.Disclosure 1

Delegating long-term financial planning duties may seem like an easy way to divide tasks, but it’s not a productive approach. Solid retirement income planning takes collaboration and full participation by both partners—to ensure life in retirement meets both your needs. 

Whether working solely or with a partner on your retirement income plan, consider the following:

Longevity trends have upped the ante

“We need to make sure that we have funds available for living longer than we thought,” cautions Certified Financial Planner Jennifer Williams, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor with Truist Investment Services. “When I started in this business, life insurance actuaries were insuring up to 100 years. Now most of the insurance companies are providing illustrations insuring people up to 120.”

As a result, the cost of healthcare is of special concern. Medical advances have blessed us with longer life expectancies, but higher medical bills often accompany these extra years. In fact, health-related expenses have historically increased 34% more than the overall rate of inflation.Disclosure 2

Well before retiring, you need to decide whether you plan to cover long-term care expenses out-of-pocket or through an insurance policy. “Women tend to use long-term care longer, which means they’ll need more money available for it,” Williams notes.

Income requirements may ebb and flow

Retirement can last decades, so it’s common to have three distinct phases: early, middle and late. Your income needs will largely depend on your lifestyle and medical expenses.

In the early years, as you take advantage of good health and newfound leisure time, you may want more income to support an active lifestyle full of travel and hobbies. In mid-retirement, your income needs may be less, as you stay closer to home and family. But then later in life, medical bills may once again require more income.

Family obligations and favorite causes should be part of your plan   

Caretaking can also affect retirement income needs. An ailing spouse may have high medical expenses, aging parents could require long-term care assistance, and adult children may request financial support if they haven’t yet settled into careers.

Estate planning priorities also should be part of any retirement income discussions. You and your partner must decide on your wealth transfer objectives. It can be a delicate balance finding the right mix between leaving a legacy, providing for heirs, and maintaining an income that supports your retirement lifestyle.

“With these variables in mind, a retirement income plan should incorporate all sources of income available,” Williams urges, “including pensions, Social Security, annuities, retirement savings, taxable savings, and rental property, if applicable.”

An advisor can help address your retirement income needs

Once you’ve got a good idea of your post-retirement lifestyle and the income required to support it, you and your Truist Wealth advisor can then create a custom plan to determine how much you’ll need to save to generate that income.

Whether you’re single or have a partner, a rewarding retirement is possible when you participate fully by taking control of your time and money. The earlier you start planning, the more time you’ll have to pursue your passions, fulfill your obligations, and take full advantage of life’s third act.

It's time to take a more active role in planning for your future.

Talk to your Truist Wealth advisor.