How To Be A Golden Girl

How To Be A Golden Girl

Are you worried about ending up old and poor?


The Transamerica
Center for Retirement Studies
, a non-profit, private
foundation, recently released the results of their 11th annual survey on
retirement issues.  The study is packed with eye-popping data such as:

  • 74% of women feel they
    do not know as much as they should about retirement investing
  • 40% of women have $50,000
    or less saved for retirement
  • Only 3% of
    women feel knowledgeable about asset allocation


Industry veteran and President of Transamerica's
, was kind enough to share her thoughts on how
we can "Help Women Become Golden Girls."


What finding
shocked you most about this retirement survey?

The complete
lack of awareness of the issue.  It's just not on women's radar screens...
or men's.  There is a lack of awareness of  the basic math in terms
of calculating the impact of time in and out of the workforce on retirement
savings.  There’s a big difference between saving consistently over a
career that spans a steady 40 years versus a career that may be limited to only
25 years due to starts and stops - which can happen when you take time to raise
kids and care for elderly parents.


Why do you
think women start saving at a median age of 30, two years later than men?

Again, it's a
lack of awareness and education around the urgency of the situation
. One issue is where women get their
financial information. As you can see in
 our survey report, women cite more informal sources such
as family and friends whereas men cite more formal sources such a personal
financial websites, retirement plan provider websites, and financial
professionals.  If we can get women more engaged in types of outreach
tools and resources where the info is... we can crack the code. Additionally,
32% of women say they are just getting by covering basic living expenses* vs.
25% of men.
hypothesis is we earn less yet are expected to groom more. Catherine also
points out that industries dominated by women tend to pay less in general).


Why do fewer
women have access to 401(k) type accounts than men?

It's a direct
reflection of more women working part time than men.  81% of women who
work full time have access to a 401k(k) type plan versus only 50% of the women
who work part time.


What steps can
women take who find themselves light on retirement saving?

Start saving
now and, if you’re already saving -- save more.  If you are over age 50,
catch up contributions are a fantastic opportunity to save more for retirement.
And have a strategy. Most women don't have one. Once you put all the pieces on
the table you will find opportunities you never thought of. Think back to the
show The Golden Girls - they were roommates and had a blast. It's managing the
best with what you've got.


In your press release you state, "It is critical for the
retirement industry, media and policy makers to respond by providing
information, tools and resources tailored to women to help them thrive in their
golden years." What would be some ways to do this?

It goes back to
making this subject part of the normal conversation between women. For those
media outlets that draw a lot of women - add this to part of the dialogue. High
school is also a great place to do it. For example, I am forever glad I was
required to take typing, it’s an invaluable life skill.  Now, let's add
financial skills.


What last
thought would you like to leave women with?

It's never too
soon to start saving for retirement&it's never too late.  We each
have unique opportunities to become golden girls, but we have to educate and
take action ourselves.




Want more financial love? You can follow Manisha on Twitter at @ManishaThakor and sign up for her email updates here. Starting in Fall 2010,
Manisha will teach an innovative online course on "Financial Literacy
101" for woman though Manisha Thakor, personal
finance expert for women, can be reached via her website,