“Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.”—Helen Gurley Brown
As a Boomer woman, you are living longer—much longer.
In one study, 2 out of 5 older women surveyed said that they expect to live to age 90+. They are concerned about affording health care and long-term care services in later life, and money to support them day-to-day.
Joyce, a 58-year-old widow, expressed, “Living with my chronically ill husband for the last 5 years has been the hardest thing I have ever done! Now that my husband, the man I loved, passed away, I’m dealing with grief, physical problems, and financial pressures. I think I’m ready to have a nervous breakdown.”
Though Joyce had worked in a professional setting for many years and earned good money, when her husband became ill she had first to downsize her job to part-time, and months later resign altogether.
Joyce joined the 40 million caregivers in America, of which 60% are women and, end-of-life care and related expenses ate through their savings.
By leaving the workforce early, she figured she lost about $150,000 in wages, plus social security benefits.
Regrettably, when her husband was alive and healthy, Joyce was not involved in the family finances or in identifying common goals for the future.
When it came to investing in growth assets, she was clueless.
Joyce will undoubtedly begin to look for more employment, provided her health holds up. At age 58, she is a “young” Boomer. If she can’t find a new job, perhaps she will try entrepreneurship.
But consider the daily pressures she could experience in the meantime.
Don’t let this be your life story.
To help mitigate a similar situation in your life, why not begin taking the following 5 steps.
What You Can Do
- Act now! Fight procrastination and do nothing. Force yourself to get moving. Realize you’re the boss! You’re in charge of your financial future.
- Gain money knowledge. Gather information. Educate yourself. Focus on women’s issues, paying particular to the risks you face should you become single. Check out diverse sources and do not rely on any one source. Think critically about what you find; ask questions of yourself and others. Research.
- Consult a financial planner. Meet with someone who is skilled and knowledgeable in the concerns of women.
- Calculate income and expenses. One study revealed that only one in four women (25%) do the math on this. Most women have no clear picture of what they’ll face when it comes to health costs, let alone housing, food, clothing, transportation, and so forth. (A good financial planner will help you with this.)
- Stay on budget. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 87% of those in poverty in America are women. And 25% of widows are poor a mere two months after their husband’s death.
It’s not too late.
Perhaps you’ll come to agree with Lillian Day on the importance of securing your financial future: “Money isn’t everything, your health is the other ten percent.”
Begin right now, today to “Ensure a Financially Healthy Future”!
Report: The MetLife Study of Women, Retirement and Extra-Long Life: Implications for Planning (2011)