Commentary: Retirement readiness for women | Business Columnists

May 10, 2021

• Women of color face the greatest income disparities. As a result, one quarter of black women over age 65 and 31% of Hispanic women over age 65 live in poverty.

With these uphill challenges, it’s no wonder women are more likely than men to fall short of their retirement goals. And the pandemic hasn’t helped matters either, considering most job losses in 2020 occurred among women. Here are steps you can take to change this concerning pattern and enhance your own retirement readiness:

1. Put time on your side. The sooner you prioritize retirement planning, the better. Grow your nest egg with consistent contributions. Automatic deposits make it easy; simply identify the amount or percentage you want to save from every paycheck. Invested savings can grow over time through compound interest.

2. Seek income equality. Know your worth and advocate for fair compensation. Be willing to negotiate for salary increases. Consider moving into a higher-paying career if earnings are limited in your field.

3. Maximize your retirement plan contributions. Take advantage of the employer 401(k) contribution match if it’s available to you. Whether it’s a partial match or dollar-for-dollar match, those employer dollars boost your retirement savings account for free.

4. Work longer. Every year you remain in the workforce and continue to earn a paycheck is one less year you need to tap your savings. If you enjoy what you do, stay in your career. If you face a mandatory retirement age, find other work for the income it provides.