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Why ‘Baby Boomer’ Women Can’t Afford to Retire And Tips To Bounce Back
A shocking report by the Los Angeles Times showed that single women are at the highest risk of living in poverty. Why? It comes with lower wages, higher expenses, and only one paycheck. Many of us Baby Boomer women have to downsize our lives significantly as we get older. Instead of retiring, many of us can’t even mumble the word “retirement,” let alone talk about it. Instead, many of us have to work three jobs to stay afloat. But why?
Boomers Spend, baby, spend
The “American Dream” represents the idea that having more equates to being more. The bigger the house, the bigger the car and the bigger the shoe collection are associated with being higher up the socio-economic ladder. Susan Stern of the Association for Economic Analysis notes that: “The consumer euphoria came about because consumers aged 35 to 44 are spending about 20% more than the average consumer. Those aged 45 to 54 are spending about 30% more Add these two age groups together and you get 40% of US households This same group is responsible for half of government spending.
In the past, many Baby Boomer women in their relationships did not have direct control over their finances. I know that I indirectly fell victim to the same feat. It wasn’t that we didn’t care; we were simply not educated in managing our capital and budgeting. Many of us feel and act uncomfortable around the subject of money. We (and I’m guilty of this) want someone to come to the rescue and save the day.
What a rainy day?
Hmmmm. What to do? Are you buying a new pair of Cheetah Print Sling-backs or saving an extra $100? (My closet shows signs of my shoe addiction.) Instead of saving for retirement, Boomers have spent their lives “living in the now.” Unfortunately, many of us have not saved enough to support our lifestyle, leaving us in debt.
A recent Los Angeles Times article reported that “Ellen Tucker Emerson quit her nursing career to help raise her children, but money was never a concern. “He bought me furs and jewelry. We stayed in the best hotels.” When her marriage ended, her financial life looked very different. Instead of going on glamorous trips, she sweats to pay the bills. At 51, Ellen wonders how she’ll survive retirement.
Bounce and bounce better
No matter your age or situation, today is the time to take action! It’s never too late. It’s been nice to see that even if you’ve had a difficult financial path, you can always make a change. Trust me, I know. I had $88,000 in company credit card debt because I lost my marriage and business in the same year. In four years I paid off my debt and moved from the pool house to a nice house.
As a life coach, it has been extremely rewarding for me to see women in their 60s make successful career changes. You are never too old to take control of your life!
o Get Real
If your financial goals and needs are unclear, you will never be able to get ahead. Take a month and track all your expenses and income. If credit cards have been a problem, take a month and just use cash for your expenses. It’s amazing how cash will wake you up. When it’s gone, it’s gone. I have found it helpful to put cash in separate envelopes. Groceries, gas, entertainment, medicine, etc.
o Write down your goals
Seeing is believing. When you write down your goals, you first acknowledge the situation, which is the first step to turning it around. By putting your goals on paper, you create your plan of action and you will achieve them.
o Don’t let fear or shame stop you
Many women feel ashamed of being in a difficult financial situation. Remember, there is strength in numbers, so seek refuge with a friend. Many times money problems are harder and more difficult to talk about than relationship problems. Get in and out, get the help you need. Just talking to another woman can help you get back to enjoying your life.
o Get help
Seeking financial help will help solve the problem. By speaking to experts who are trained in this field, they will be able to provide you with practical information and support to guide you in the right direction. NABBW has a lot of great resources. You’ll learn that there are other Boomers out there just like you who are dealing with the same issues.
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