Are you ready for retirement? I’m not asking if you’re ready to sell your business and start making clay sculptures in Sedona or want to retire right this moment. I’m talking about whether you’re financially on the right track to be ready to retire when you need—and want—to do so.
Whether you’re 22 or 62, retirement readiness is a question women business owners need to consider. Here’s a shocking figure: On average, women’s retirement accounts are only two-thirds the size of men’s, according to a MassMutual survey reported by The Wall Street Journal. Making matters worse, women actually need more retirement money than men because they typically live longer, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Entrepreneurs in general are known for failing to adequately plan for their retirement. Many assume that “the business is my 401(k)” and that they will sell the business at some point and retire comfortably. Others plow every extra dollar back into the business, never considering their own needs. Add in the special concerns of women, as mentioned above, and it’s clear that smart retirement planning is an especially acute need for women entrepreneurs.
So start taking a hard look at your future finances. There are many options open for small business owners to sock away retirement funds, including IRAs, SEPs and even 401(k) accounts that can be opened by companies with only a few employees.
The Wall Street Journal article points out another key issue: Many financial planners are less than helpful to women clients because they patronize them, don’t take into account their longer lifespan or assume that their husbands’ retirement plans will handle most of the burden. You can’t assume anything when it comes to retirement planning, so find an advisor you’re comfortable with and who treats you with respect. Ask colleagues and professionals you work with for their recommendations, and check references.
It’s a cliché but it’s too often true that women shy away from understanding financial matters. As a business owner, you’ve had to learn lots about managing your company’s money, whether you were comfortable with finance or not. Now’s the time to do the same when it comes to your own money. It’s your future, after all.