Something’s wrong. According to a 2012 survey, 92 percent of women of all ages in the United States don’t feel they know enough to reach their retirement savings goals. This lack of education can’t be because there aren’t enough books on the subject. Search “retirement” on the popular online bookseller Amazon and you’ll find more than twenty thousand results.
And there is no shortage of workshops, speakers, advisors, brokers, counselors, and financial planners offering retirement planning services. Retirement planning has become a billion-dollar industry in the United. States. An online search for “retirement calculators” provides thousands of options as well.
So why isn’t any of this working? Why is it that only 8 percent of women believe thy know what to do?
With all these available resources, you may be wondering why on earth I’d consider adding another retirement book to the already crowded field. Because I think women need a different kind of book, one with out all the jargon, charts and mind-numbing data, one that simply and honestly cuts through the complicated information that’s out there and provides just the facts and motivation they need in a warm and conversational way–the way we’d chat over coffee about something that is very important to both of us.
Big Surprise Ahead
Millions of women approaching retirement age have nothing stored up for when they won’t be able to work for a living. They think Social Security will be enough, but they are in for a rude awakening.
A more common attitude is, “I’ve got plenty of time. I’ll catch up when I get the bills paid. We’ve got a wedding coming up and a child in college, and we have to help our parents.” Retirement is far away and other things are so much more pressing that it’s easy to sacrifice the important for the urgent.
Some married women blithely assume their husbands have this retirement thing all covered and that they’ll be cared for. Others just treat it like a big joke, saying they’re planning to win the lottery or get a big inheritance. And on it goes for years, then more years, and before they know it, the sixties are knocking on the door. They’re worried and terrified of what will happen to them because they have less than five hundred dollars in the bank and a pathetically small balance in the retirement account.
I don’t know what your excuses might be, but you’re not the only one who has them. I’ve had them myself.
Right now, I feel like a highway flagman. You’re over there in the fast lane, distracted by all the noise of life, and I’m over here with this big red flag, doing everything I can to get your attention. There’s big trouble up ahead.
Women, in general, are not prepared, and it’s not pretty. Fifty-five percent of women depend on Social Security alone, with no retirement savings at all. The average monthly Social Security c heck is $1,130. Let me put that into perspective. If you work forty hours a week for $1,130. per month, you’re making $6.40 per hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Could you live on that?
Other women retire with some savings, and the average amount is less than $30,000. If you live to age eighty-five, that amounts to an additional $125. a month. Is that really any better?
You need to get out of the fast lane. You won’t have smooth sailing unless you make a course correction. I want to guide you to another, safer route so that when you arrive at the “retirement” off-ramp you’ll be prepared and ready for the best season of life.
Ladies, we must do what we do best: take charge. The question is how. How do you balance one more thing when you are already so heavily burdened? How do you plan for thirty years down the road when you’d be happy just to get through the chaos of the day––getting everyone to school, then you to work, then everyone back home in time for dinner, so you can get everyone to bed, just to start all over again tomorrow?
If you’re overspending, or in debt, of reel your finances are out of control, trust me, I understand. While I can’t make you change the way you’re living and spending now, I can show you how to do just that.
As you read my book, I hope you develop an urgency in your heart that will stop you in your tracks and keep you from spending all that you have now to create space for future planning.
If you feel fearful, undisciplined, or uneducated when it comes to managing your money, you can change all that. The first step is to read this book with a strong resolve to do what it says no matter how difficult it may seem. Doing so might just save you from years of misery and poverty.
Failure, the Best Teacher?
Money mistakes. We all make them, but some of us make really big ones that take us years to recover from, if ever. Some mistakes can never be fixed. I know. I’ve made some doozies in my life.
I’m not here to complain about the mistakes I’ve made. That would be another mistake. Mistakes are useful because they teach us what doesn’t work. But making the same mistake over and over again while expecting different results–– well, that’s the definition of insanity. The secret is to learn from our mistakes and then move on, knowing not to do the same things again.
My money mistakes have been costly not just financially but in terms of time, stress, and emotional turmoil. I have scars. I could make a list of the things I won’t do again because I’ve proven they do not work.
I’d like to say I learned my lesson from each one the first time, no repeats. I can’t. I’m often a slow learner. And stubborn. But I am grateful for all that I learned, for the ways God redeemed even the mistakes to bring me to the place I am right now in my life, right here with you, taking the mistakes of the past and turning them into something good and positive for the future.
While mistakes can be great teachers, there may be an even better way to learn. A recent study examined the experiences of cardiovascular surgeons to determine whether success of failure was the better teacher and whose failure provided better lessons. The study produced a striking conclusion. Failure is the best teacher mostly when someone else has failed. Surgeons learned best from their own successes and the failures of others; their own failures were much harder to learn from.
You do not have the time or the money to learn from making your own mistakes. That’s why I am offering you to let you learn from my failures. I’ve done all the hard work of making lots of mistakes. Let me save you time and money. Benefit from my mistakes, and you’ll be miles ahead. And if you’ve already committed your share of blunders, let’s call this a new day––a place to pick yourself up and to start again.
To learn more about the author Mary Hunt or to buy her new book, please visit The Smart Womans Guide to Planning for Retirement
Mary Hunt is the award-winning and bestselling author of several books, including 7 Money Rules for Life, as well as a sought-after motivational speaker. She is founder and publisher of the interactive website Debt-Proof Living (www.debtproofliving.com), which features financial tools, resources, and information for her online members. Her books have sold more than a million copies, and her daily newspaper column is nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers. Hunt speaks widely on personal finance and has appeared on shows such as NBC’s Today, FOX News, Oprah, and Focus on the Family. She and her husband live in California.