If a woman needs a financial shoulder to lean on, it should be her own.
Ladies, brace yourself for some hard facts. The average woman works fewer years and makes less than the average man in her lifetime. But she lives longer (life expectancy in Malaysia for women stands at 79 years and men at 751). In short, it mean women have to plan for a longer retirement with less money.
The 2007 data from Employees Provident Fund (EPF) showed that female contributors have and average of RM84,955.62 saved up by the time they retire at 55 years, RM47,584 less than the country average of RM132,539.782. If she is to retired at 55 and live until age 79, she would have only RM283.15 a month to live on, if her EPF savings are all she has.1 That’s dangerously below the poverty line of RM750!2 Furthermore, the RM283.15 a month over 25 years does not take into consideration inflation, which may eat away into a sizeable slice of her savings.
Why women find it hard to save
There are many reasons why women have fallen behind when it comes to retirement savings. A woman may often have children during her vital career-development years and opt to stay home and care for them. This puts an end to their EPF contribution. Without an income, women may not be able to save much on their own. Even if they does return to the workforce after the children have grown , losing those working years means that they may return to the same level they were at years before. Or worst, their skills may have become obsolete, leaving them further behind in their careers, wages and savings.
Women often dig into their savings to help family members in need and may also consider their family needs first instead of their own.
Married women may also leave financial management to their husbands. Men are more likely to be looking after the long-term finances while women are generally more focused on household budgeting. The wife may relegate the responsibility of retirement planning to her spouse and remain uncertain about her financial future.
‘A man is not a financial plan’4
While a responsible husband may often times provide for his wife’s future, she too has a part to play in taking charge of their financial future together. Being clued-in on her state of finances will go a long way in ensuring a comfortable life in her later years.
The fact is, retirement is expensive and for women, who may live 5 years longer than men, even more so. Retirement planning strategies essentially do not differ much for women and men. But for women who have put off retirement planning, they may need to seriously catch up. It’s time to stop wishing and take bold action towards your own happy-ever-after. Here are some tips:
Start now. It’s not too late. Educate yourself on the fundamentals of retirement planning. If you feel over whelmed by technical information and jargon, seek help from a financial advisor.
Stay on top of family finances. Even if your husband is handling the family finances, be in the know. Choose to go for meetings with your family insurance agent and financial planner. Make sure you’re involved with investment decisions, monitor your debt situation and ensure your insurance coverage is adequate.
Stick to it. Once a plan is formulated, commit to it. Soon enough, you’ll begin to see it bear fruit. And your own fairytale ending may become a reality.
A fulfilling retirement begins with one small step today. Talk to our Relationship Managers on HSBC Advance to find out about HSBC new retirement plan.
Call 1 300 88 0181, visit your nearest HSBC branch for more information or visit www.hsbdadvance.com.my to register online.
Facts that figure
- EPF members have an average savings of RM132,538.78 at age 55. If a person work for an additional 5 years, his savings would go up by about RM40,000.2
- Only 27% claim to fully understand their long-term finances, with women having even lower level of understanding.5
- Cost of education is rising at 6% each year.6
1. The Women’s Summit 2010, “Financial Planning: Women must step up or lose out financially”.
2. The Star, “Way too young to retire at 55?” May 2, 2010.
3. The Star, “Women in workforce augur well for the economy” May 28, 2010.
4. Quote from Ginita Wall, certified financial planner (CFP) and co-founder of the Women’s Institute for Financial Education, or wife.org.
5. HSBC, “The Future of Retirement: It’s time to prepare”, 2009.
6. The Star, “Counting on the nest egg?” May 27, 2007.