The Boomer Woman's Financial Guide



A recent study finds that women of the Boomer generation are losing a lot of sleep over money anxiety. About 87% of those polled feel stress concerning their finances because of the unexpected bills associated with credit card indebtedness and health care expenses. Finding a workable retirement savings plan gave 29% of the respondents increased anxiety. Here’s what you should be doing about it:

2. Better pre-retirement saving skills.

Sharp financial planning skills for retirement income are a must. When you go from a steady income to a fixed income you want to make sure you are getting enough to still live comfortably. Most experts agree that retirement funds should allow you about two-thirds of what you were making when gainfully employed. So mapping it all out is crucial if you want the β€˜golden years’ to be truly golden.

Statistics from the United States Department of Labor point out that most 65 year old women today will live to be at least 90, while a man the same age lives to 88. Those two extra years of expense mean that women are under the gun more than men to get their retirement strategy up and running as soon as possible. Calculating what your retirement budget will be like before you say aloha to the office for good is a smart idea. Make sure you include money for both discretionary purchasing and essential purchases. Add up every possible source of post-retirement income to see how close you’ll be to a comfortable lifestyle for you. Don’t worry about what others say about their retirement plans -- your needs and wants are unique to you, not to your friends or other family members. Balancing assets and expenses may seem like a major undertaking, but it’s essential to do now so you can make any course corrections necessary before it’s too late.

3. Get out of debt!

Any kind of debt is like the ancient Greek god Argus, who had so many eyes that he never slept but was ever vigilant and demanding. When Northwestern Mutual did a study of debt they found that nearly a third of women in the study said that if they could eliminate all debt from their budget their financial situation would improve significantly, and immediately. The stress of unresolved and unstructured debt for women who are approaching fifty is immense. Debt may come from such things as mortgage payments, a lingering loan, and medical payments -- not to mention car payments and even long-lasting student loan debt. And since women bear the major burden of caring for their kids and/or ill parents/relatives, the ability to work full-time and save enough money to pay off debts in a timely manner is becoming harder not easier. And there are other factors to consider; the unresolved wage gap between men and women and maternity leave that is not fully compensated. This leaves most women with fewer resources to pay off their debts, and can heighten anxiety to intolerable levels. Determine NOW to get yourself on a fast track for repayments, no matter what it takes. Make some small sacrifices now so you won’t have to make huge ones in your retirement. Pay down your highest interest rate debts first. It’ll hurt your wallet, sure; but it’s a strategy that pays off in the long run by destroying those debts that are sucking the most out of your right now.

4. Have a rainy day fund

Nobody is immune from accidents and misfortunes, no matter how prudent they are. It’s a part of life. β€œSo,” according to Brian Greenberg founder of True Blue Life Insurance, β€œwhen the unexpected turns up you have to be ready with something tucked away to tide you over the bad spots.” If you decide to purchase life insurance for the benefit of your children, you need to arrange some legal means for the proceeds to be managed and supervised by a competent adult. If you don't, and your children are not legal adults when you die, the court will appoint a property guardian for the children. That process necessitates attorneys' fees, court proceedings, and court supervision of life insurance benefits -- costs and hassles that surely won't help your kids. There are several ways to prevent this: β€’ You may not want to name minors as beneficiaries of your life insurance policy. Instead, name a trusted adult beneficiary who will use the money for the children's benefit. If you are confident that this adult will not waver from his or her duty, even years down the line, this might be the easiest option. β€’ You can name your children as your life insurance policy beneficiaries and also name an adult custodian under your state's Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). Most insurance companies permit this and have forms for it. If you want the proceeds to go to more than one child, you'll need to specify the percentage each receives. β€’ If you have a living trust, you can name the trustee as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy. In the trust document, name the minor children as beneficiaries of any money the trust receives from the insurance policy. Also, establish within the trust a method to impose adult management over the proceeds, which can be either a UTMA custodianship or a child's trust. You'll need to give a copy of your living trust to the insurance company.