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A retirement planning tip for women: start early

(NC) Women today have really come a long way, compared to their mothers and even grand-mothers. They're asserting their independence in the business world, living healthy lifestyles and taking care of their families. And statistically, women are living longer than men. But many still find themselves in vulnerable financial positions, especially in terms of retirement planning. We asked the experts from Desjardins Insurance for their advice on how women can turn things around.

What should women do to get started?

The key to securing your future is preparing ahead, by having a plan and starting to save as early as possible. Women need to be proactive and think about what they would need financially in retirement. This is particularly important since they'll tend to be retired longer than men, simply because of their longer life expectancy. Statistics Canada calculates the health-adjusted life expectancy at birth to provide an indicator of the number of years people may expect to live in good health. On average women reach 82 years with close to 71 years spent in good health. Future retirees will therefore need their retirement income to last.

Developing a financial plan doesn't mean locking yourself in a room with a complicated spreadsheet. Desjardins Insurance has a great section on its website called “Creating a retirement savings strategy” that's designed to help you clarify your retirement plans and income needs.  

Specific considerations

Women may need to consider certain specific issues in their retirement planning:

• Lower income

• Self-employment

• Part-time work or withdrawal from work force to raise children

• Another factor that may impede retirement savings for women is the fact that they are more likely than men to stop working to look after a loved one who is ill. This may be an unexpected expense that appears just as retirement is around the corner.

What's really important is that women don't compromise their financial security in retirement; start saving regularly as soon as possible. It can be as easy as setting up payroll deductions or pre-authorized transfers from your chequing account to your RRSP.

For more information about building your retirement savings plan, speak to your financial advisor. Or for immediate answers, visit Desjardins Insurance online at www.desjardinslifeinsurance.com.

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