In addition to the already daunting task of putting up with men, women face some unique challenges when it comes to retirement planning.  According to a recent study conducted by Prudential Financial, women are more likely to be the primary breadwinner and more likely to be single than a generation ago.  This is often times not by choice but because of the death of a spouse or divorce.  My practice is definitely reflective of this as many of my clients are widowed, divorced, or single women by choice.

One of the most significant factors contributing to the challenges  women face when planning their retirement is; women often times live longer than men, spend less time in the workforce and although the gap is closing, women still tend to make less than their male counterparts, according to Americans For Secure Retirement.  These issues coupled with the fact that older women traditionally did not handle “money matters” may lead to  a general lack of confidence in a secure retirement, smaller Social Security payouts, and having to stretch the retirement nest egg out for a longer period of time.

I always encourage my married clients to meet with me together.  If it were up to most of my married female clients, they would rather be doing just about anything other than meeting for their financial check-up.  But, statistically we men pass away first and being involved as a couple in the financial aspects your life will dramatically reduce the anxiety you as the surviving spouse will face down the road.  If you don’t believe me, ask someone you know that is widowed or divorced how stressful it was when they all of a sudden were on their own, forced to take over the financial decision making from paying bills to making all the investment decisions.  

If you are currently widowed, divorced, or single, find a trusted advisor you can partner with for the long haul.  Put a financial plan together, review it often and stick to it.  Just having a plan will increase your confidence and reduce your anxiety.  Make sure you have some estate planning in place.  Assign someone to make decisions for you if you can’t.  Seriously consider purchasing Long Term Care Insurance.  These things are important for anyone, but may be even more important for women. Whether you are married or single, special consideration should be given to the above issues when planning for retirement.

(Editor’s Note: Chad M Winn is a financial advisor with Wells Fargo, located at 4051 E. Sunrise Dr. Ste. 200. To contact Chad, call 240-4848, or email

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