Many women will find themselves living a more solitary life in their later years, through divorce or widowhood, or because their families live in other parts of the country.
That presents various challenges, many of which are financial, since they often take time out during their prime earning years to care for family. In fact, it’s well known that Social Security benefit calculations favor men. Men utilize care-giving sabbaticals less frequently, traditionally take little time off for childrearing, and, of course, sadly, they still earn more than women. As recently as 2009, the average Social Security income of a man was $15,560 while that of a woman was $12,155.
(Women’s earnings were still only 77.4 percent of men’s in 2010.)
One group, the Women’s Institute for A Secure Retirement, www.wiserwomen.org, is helping to educate women about financial matters, especially as they are related to the retirement years. WISER is a nonprofit organization, and publishes fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explains some of the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.
The site was named as one of the top 100 websites for women by Forbes Magazine, with good reason. Resources on the site include a free e-book for download, “What Women Need to Know about Retirement” (http://www.wiserwomen.org/pdf_files/ebook/chapterseven.pdf), as well as a guide to divorce and retirement (http://www.wiserwomen.org/pdf_files/wiserBroDivorce.pdf).
There are sections on health care, reverse mortgages, and long-term care, as well as saving and investing. There’s also an excellent page that helps women and families recognize signs of financial abuse or scams: (http://www.wiserwomen.org/index.php?id=173&page= Protecting_Your_Income:_Tips_for_Elders).
Among the signs of financial abuse mentioned are: Abrupt changes in the elderly person’s lifestyle (for example, an unexplained inability to paybills; disparities between the amount of money and assets the elderly person has and living conditions; sudden withdrawals of large sums of money from accounts; new acquaintances who promise to provide care, or who give implausible answers about the elderly person’s financial situation; and family or friends who pay extraordinary interest in the older person’s assets or belongings.
There are also great links to other useful sites, such as consumerlaw.org, and AARP, where consumers can find information about avoiding predatory lenders and fraudulent activities.
Nurses may want to pay particular attention to wiserwomen.org site. The Nurses’ Investor Education Project is a joint three-year partnership between WISER and the Center for American Nurses, funded by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, to identify nurses’ specific financial information needs and provide them with tools to help them successfully manage and build their wealth into retirement.
It has published the Wiser Nurses Retirement Decision Making Guide:https://www.wiserwomen.org/images/imagefiles/wiserNursesDecisionMkingGuide10.09v2.pdf
Interested parties can request a regular copy of the Wiser Women email newsletter by sending a request to email@example.com.
Anne Springer is the public relations director of SeniorCare Inc., Cape Ann’s local area agency on aging. To reach SeniorCare, call 978-281-1750.