Building a Strong Financial Future: Retirement Planning for Women

Retirement can be a dream. Or it can be a nightmare. We sat down with First Commerce Bank’s Jill Ross to get tips for retirement planning. 

Keep inflation in mind

A quintessential step in planning for retirement is figuring out how much you’ll have to save before you retire – which means deciding how much money you’ll want to spend each year. But many people forget to account for a pesky reality: inflation. 

“If you think you need a million dollars,” Ross says, “what is that going to be in 10 years? It’s not going to be a million. So when you’re planning for the future, you have to take your crystal ball out and kind of project, look at what the graph might be for inflation. It can be hard to do, but it’s important.” 

And health insurance

Jill Ross- First Commerce Bank

As we age, we may run into some health issues – that’s another factor you need to consider when you’re trying to pinpoint the annual amount you’ll need in retirement. “Figure out what kind of health insurance you’ll have, what your coverage will be for and what kind of care you might need,” Ross says. 

Start with your employer

Ross’ first tip for women looking to save for retirement is to start with your employer. “You’re going to start with whatever retirement plan is offered through your employer,” she says. “And then it just depends on risk levels and when you’ll need the money. You need to know what risk you’re comfortable with.” 

It’s also important to keep in mind where you are in your life and what milestones you expect to have in the coming years. Whether that’s saving for college or paying for a wedding, these milestones will help you decide which investments you want to make – high risk, medium risk, etc. – and how much you want to be contributing to those investments. 

Take your money with you

Sometimes – for a number of reasons – you leave your job. And when that happens, says Ross, take your retirement savings with you. “Don’t leave your 401k with your employer,” she adds. “You can roll it into what’s called a rollover IRA, and you can then direct it to your financial advisor or you can decide where it goes yourself.” 

Ask questions

We’ve all had a moment where we didn’t want to ask questions out of fear of seeming stupid or ignorant. But Ross says this is one of those very important times to not let that feeling take control. 

“That fear keeps us from knowing things,” she says. “But know that most people aren’t taught these things, and money has been such a taboo thing for people to talk about, it can be hard. But you must have the courage to ask the questions, and don’t worry about what it looks like. You’re not alone.” 

June 2024
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