Women: Are You Ready for a Long, Long Retirement?

In 2002, Tamae Watanabe became the oldest woman to climb Mount Everest. She was 63. Ten years later, at age 73, the retired office worker did it again.

You may not scale the Himalayas in retirement, but healthy living means more women can expect to live into their vigorous 70s, 80s and even 90s. The Social Security Administration estimates indicate that the average 55-year-old will live to nearly 86.1 And that’s an average—meaning many women may live even longer.

If you live long, will you prosper?

Longevity can be a mixed blessing when your savings have to last as long as you do. Social Security provides one source of dependable income for some women, though it may not be the only source needed to pay for a comfortable lifestyle or let you leave a legacy for your family. (The average Social Security retirement benefit is currently $1,328 per month for retired workers.)2

If that’s not going to be enough reliable income, how will you handle the shortfall? Consider these suggestions:

  • If you’re still working full-time: Make a point of contributing at least 10% of your pay to a retirement savings plan. Getting a late start? Consider increasing your savings rate to 15% or even 20%.
  • If you’re semi-retired: Try to live on the earnings from your part-time work, perhaps supported by Social Security benefits or a defined benefit pension. This gives your savings the potential to keep growing.
  • If you’re fully retired: Although you probably have some steady income from Social Security or a defined benefit pension, your retirement savings are most likely at the mercy of interest rates and market fluctuations.

If you have enough money, this may not affect your future retirement income. But according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, most women have smaller retirement nest eggs than men do.3 So it could make sense for you to review your plan for retirement income and look for alternative options that can guarantee you income for life.

To stay in control of your future, start now

Retirement can be the beginning of a whole new kind of productivity that encompasses family, friends, travel, education, volunteering, hobbies and more. By creating a plan for guaranteed retirement income, you may feel more confident about the future and gain more freedom to enjoy yourself.

Learn more about planning for guaranteed income in retirement.

1. Life Expectancy Calculator, Social Security Administration. www.socialsecurity.gov/cgi-bin/longevity.cgi
2. Social Security Administration 2015. http://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2015.html
3. Employee Benefit Research Institute Issue Brief, May 2014. www.ebri.org/pdf/EBRI_IB_399_May14.IRAs.pdf

The presenters of this information are not associated with, or endorsed by, the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Guarantees provided by annuities are subject to the financial strength of the issuing insurance company; not guaranteed by any bank or the FDIC.