Women in Retirement: How to Retire the Way You Want

As a woman, you have more choices than ever before – from career and leadership opportunities to raising a family or pursuing your creative passions. And when you are thinking about retirement, there are many ways to help you optimize your later years. To help you plan, and in partnership with HSBC, we help you explore the paths to a successful retirement in order to hit your stride later in life, whatever it is you choose to do!

Here are some things to consider:

Some women choose to keep working and saving past retirement age, either full or part-time. According to Statistics Canada, the average retirement age for women in Canada is 63, however many are working longer, either continuing their full-time employment because they enjoy it, or because they do not feel financially secure enough to stop working. Others continue to work part-time, well past 63 because they want to challenge themselves or try out a different career. As with all of life’s major milestones, having a solid plan in place will make all the difference, and will ensure retirement is a positive step for you – whenever you choose to do it.

Working with a professional financial advisor is crucial to help make your money work for you. A financial advisor can help you look at your resources and financial priorities, and help you decide what your options are. Additionally, if you feel more comfortable with a female advisor, (a recent study by State Street Global Advisors shows that 55% of women between ages 25 and 34 prefer working with female advisors), do a search in your area.

But planning for today is not enough. Ensuring you are maximizing your savings for those golden years is equally important. A recent report in The Future of Retirement Series, Bridging the Gap: Women in Retirement1, commissioned by HSBC, found that 25 percent of Canadian women have contributed less to their retirement savings than their spouses because women often have to take time off during their careers to raise children. If this is the case with you, there are ways to catch up.

Remember, if you haven’t already, now is the time to start investing for retirement. The HSBC-commissioned study1 found that 51 percent of working-aged women either don’t know how much they are saving for retirement, or haven’t started saving all, compared with 38 percent of men. There are numerous savings plans to consider, including Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) along with your company pension plan, if you have one. Start your retirement conversation with your workplace’s human resources or pension department and seek the advice of a financial advisor.

Do some research and educate yourself. Get knowledgeable now about your future. You need to know what percentage of your pre-retirement income you’ll need for a comfortable retirement. Many women are not aware of what this number is. Good resources exist to help you, including retirement calculators that are available on numerous websites, along with the federal government’s Canadian Retirement Income Calculator, which will help you estimate your retirement income from the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits.

Plan for a variety of scenarios. Women are unique when it comes to retirement planning because studies including one from the World Health Organization show they tend to outlive men; resulting in the need for greater retirement savings for a longer period of time. Knowing how to manage your finances and following through with a plan should help to bring you one step closer to your retirement aspirations. One way to start building monetary confidence is by opening your own investment accounts and investing regularly towards achieving your retirement goal.

Take time to dream about the ways you want to pursue your passions.Retirement is a unique opportunity in life for women. At this point in your life, children have grown up, you’ve fulfilled many career goals – so what’s next? Now is the time to really think about what you could do to make the golden years among your most meaningful for you.

Some women choose to go back to school to re-train and perhaps start a second career or a new business. If that’s your goal, you may want to start a registered education savings plan (RESP) now. And remember, many universities offer low-cost or free courses. Other women may be inspired to volunteer or pursue cherished hobbies, such as art. Still, others see traveling to places they’ve never been as a part of their bucket list. Again, whatever your dreams, you will want to ensure that your retirement plan offers you the peace of mind to go in whatever direction you choose.

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