Kerry Hannon has written about women and money since the 1990s and she has been disappointed to see that not a lot has changed since then. Women still earn less than men and are likely to leave work to take care of family members. But she doesn’t feel that these things mean that women, in particular, women over 50, have no recourse when it comes to retirement planning. According to Hannon, attitude makes a difference. In “The Wisest Retirement Solutions for Women,” she writes:
“From my research, I’ve found that the root of the money quandary many women face is their own attitude. And that’s manageable. You can control how you approach your finances. You can stop the negative mental chatter. You can put an end to procrastinating. You can choose to make understanding your own financial decisions a priority. And you need to.”
Some of the ways women don’t make financial planning a priority include: avoiding the work of researching investments or getting knowledge about financial planning and devoting resources to the family an ignoring their own needs. Cannon points out that ignoring your own needs can happen in a variety of ways including things that seem generous such as spending for a child’s education (and neglecting your own finances) or not taking compensation while working for a family business.
This is where the idea of “putting your own mask first before helping others’ comes into play. Present-day sacrifices that may seem noble may lead to trouble later. One should help one’s family but you may need to rely on them later if you do not have enough retirement savings…but what if they are not available for some reason?
If you have been putting yourself last and avoiding financial conversations, it is time to do more for you. A Fee-Only financial planner can help you help yourself retire well.