Slideshow 7 tips for women to take charge of their retirement

  • April 02 2014, 4:43pm EDT
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1. Develop a retirement strategy and write it down.

Envision your future retirement. The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, or TCRS, suggests you formulate a goal for how much you will need to save each year, including in an employer-sponsored retirement plan and outside savings. Remember to factor in living expenses, health care needs, long-term care and government benefits. When facing a decision to reduce work hours or take time out of the workforce to be a parent or a caregiver, consider the financial trade-offs and options to help mitigate the impact on long-term security.

2. Calculate your retirement savings needs and save at a level to achieve those needs.

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3. Consider retirement benefits as part of your total compensation.

If your employer doesn’t offer you a retirement plan, ask for one, TCRS suggests.

4. If your employer offers a retirement plan, participate.

Be sure that your annual salary deferral takes full advantage of employer matching contribution, if available. Contribute as much as you can. If you decide against maximizing annual salary deferrals in the plan, TCRS suggests women save for retirement outside of work.

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5. Get educated about retirement investing.

Seek professional assistance if needed, TCRS suggests. Learn about Social Security and Medicare. Learn about possible ways to help make savings last longer, including when to take withdrawals from retirement accounts to minimize taxes and penalties.

6. Have a backup plan.

Be sure to have a Plan B, in case you’re unable to work before your planned retirement, TCRS suggests. Identify potential cost-cutting lifestyle changes such as moving to a smaller home or taking on a roommate. Also, consider insurance products such as disability insurance and life insurance.

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7. Talk about retirement with family and close friends.

An open dialogue with trusted loved ones about expectations of either needing to provide or receive financial support should be part of every woman’s retirement strategy.