The old stereotype of a grandma sitting in a rocking chair by the window is a far cry from the true face of modern female retirement. From second careers, to philanthropy, to new and exciting investment initiatives, female investors are changing the common idea of the modern retiree. Here are six examples of the ways women have led by example and changed the conversation surrounding retirement.
Defining what retirement means
More women are choosing not to live an idle life of quiet retirement and vacations abroad. For them, retirement is more about doing what they’re already doing, or intensifying the type of work they did in their careers. That means anything from helping out with the grandchildren to launching a small business.
Oprah Winfrey may have stepped away from the day-to-day of running her company, but instead of relaxing on a private beach (and let’s be honest; she could afford several private islands), she’s working to provide education for girls and has moved into movie producing (with a little acting on the side).
Taking control with education
Women are taking more control of their finances and not relying on anyone else to plot their financial future. Just look at Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University. She was raised to be a “rich man’s wife” but rejected that path to become president of a world famous university.
Taking financial control means women are learning more about finances and doing their own financial planning, or working with an expert to create a personalized plan. Compared to men, women are more likely to ask for help when planning their financial future, and in turn are that more prepared and educated.
Women are not just saving money; they’re investing in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and businesses. The Economist said that “women’s economic empowerment is arguably the biggest social change of our time,” and The World Bank agrees. It said that by 2014 (and that was just last year), women will control a GDP greater than India and China, combined.
By incorporating these options into their retirement portfolio, women can benefit from the returns later in life.
Maximizing RRSPs and TFSAs
RRSPs and TFSAs offer a good start to saving for retirement. StatsCan found that “More men than women over the age of 65 received income from employment or private pensions and RRSPs in 2011: 30.1% of men compared to 16.3% of women had earnings, and 70.3% of men compared to 58.0% of women had income from private pensions and RRSPs.” If you’re planning for retirement, take advantage of the compound interest offered by these two retirement platforms. Some helpful strategies could include deferring their pre-retirement income taxes or earning interest/capital gains tax-free.
Starting their second act
Once you reached retirement age, (55 years and up) conventional wisdom stated that your next move was to retire, pick up a hobby and relax. But women like Arianna Huffington and Jill Abramson are changing that. Abramson, 60, was the executive editor at the New York Times. When her tenure there ended, she didn’t rest on her laurels in retirement. Instead, she has partnered up Court TV creator Steven Brill to launch a new investigative platform.
Not retiring at 65
With much of Canada getting rid of mandatory retirement ages and the average life expectancy soaring higher each year, healthy women of retirement age are choosing to work past 65. Margaret Chan, Director General at the World Health Organization is 66 years old, and instead of retiring, she’s running one of the biggest health organizations in the world. Considering Canadian women have an average lifespan of 81, why retire at 65 when you have so much left to do, and time enough to try it all?