By: Susanne Birgersdotter
I read an article recently on the website Nordic Information on Gender that peaked my interest. This article stated there is a gender gap in pensions in Sweden, specifically that men’s pensions are 30 per cent higher than women’s, even though women live longer than men.
There are a few reasons for this disparity, namely that women work less hours than men, take more time off work for children than men, and generally have lower paying jobs than men. All of this affects how much money a woman accumulates in her pension to be used upon retirement.
11 June 2015. Queen Elizabeth II. COPYRIGHT STELLA PICTURES
As women, we tend to put others’ needs before our own, but this might be hurting us for our retirement years. For us 40+ women, it’s time to start putting our future first.
There are a few things you should start doing today to make sure you’re prepared for retirement.
- Make a list of what you’ll need and want during retirement. You’ll have the same basic needs during retirement that you have now: housing, food, utilities, etc. Add to that some of the things you want, such as travel and entertainment, and you should come up with a figure of how much you’ll need each year to live on.
- Figure out your Swedish Pension Agency benefits. For many of us, our pension amount will be the largest part of retirement income. Make sure you know how much is in your fund account, which will tell you how much you need to save to cover the difference between what you have and what you want.
- Start saving in a private pension fund. You might want to invest in a financial planner to help guide you on the best ways to save money for retirement. He or she will walk you through your needs and wants during retirement and help you design a savings plan that will let you meet those expectations.
- Make sure you know everything you’re entitled to. It’s a hard issue to consider, but you may be divorced or widowed when it’s time to retire. Make sure you understand what you’re entitled to by law for these scenarios. You might want to work with an expert, or your financial planner may have access to that information.
- Research, research, research. Learn about the best practices of other successful women concerning their retirement strategies. Read as much as you can about how women are funding their retirements in Sweden, and talk to other women, bankers, employers, financial advisors, and anyone else to get a wide range of ideas. The more you know, the better planning you’ll be able to do for your retirement.
For women in their 40s, you’re probably at your most stressed out period in life: you’re coming into your peak earning years, you’re juggling family and elder care responsibilities, and you don’t have time to think about retirement yet.
But it’s important that you do think about it and plan for it. If you want a secure and happy retirement, the means to get there are in your hands. Just like maintaining your health, your financial health is up to you. Take action today, and finally put your future self first.
11 June 2015. Queen Elizabeth II is given flowers by 6-year-old Maisie Gregory after attending a Colours Parade for the Royal Welsh Regiment at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.The infantry regiment formed in 2006 after the merger of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Wales. COPYRIGHT STELLA PICTURES