Women and Money

A Helpful Checklist for Women Living in Retirement

  • Determine how much money you’ve been withdrawing from your savings each year since you retired and whether it will last your lifetime. The current life expectancy for women is nearly 80 years old.
  • To ensure that you won’t outlive your retirement savings, consider purchasing an annuity, which will provide you with guaranteed income for the rest of your life.
  • Withdraw money from taxable or tax-free investments before taking withdrawals from tax-deferred accounts such as 401(k)s or IRAs. You don’t have to begin taking distributions from tax-deferred accounts until the April after you turn 70½.
  • Have two to three years’ worth of living expenses in liquid investments.
  • If you haven’t turned 62 yet, try not to begin collecting Social Security until you’re at least full retirement age. Taking Social Security at 62 will reduce your lifetime benefits. For those born from 1943 to 1954, full retirement age is 66, and collecting at age 62 will reduce lifetime benefits by 25%. For those born after 1954, full retirement age phases up to age 67, and retiring at age 62 will reduce benefits by 30%.
  • If you’re not yet eligible for Medicare and are no longer covered under COBRA, consider taking a part-time job if it provides medical insurance that costs less than the plan you have now.
  • Reassess your life insurance needs to ensure that a spouse or partner will have enough money to cover living expenses.
  • Think about purchasing long-term care insurance to protect your retirement savings from being depleted.
  • If you don’t have a will, durable powers of attorney, health care proxies, or a living will, have them drawn up. If you already have them, make sure they’re updated to reflect events such as a family birth, death, or divorce.
  • Use estate planning to ensure that the assets you want to leave your heirs aren’t severely depleted by estate taxes. You can take advantage of strategies like tax-free gifts, but make sure you’ll still have enough income to last your lifetime.
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