Having parents with money is not a good retirement plan, admonishes Leah Miller, CEO of Red Anchor Wealth Management in Charleston, S.C.
That is one of the rules Miller tries to pass on to the women who come to her for retirement advice.
Miller specializes in retirement planning, particularly for women, who she says view money differently than men and frequently face different issues. For women, she says, money is associated with love and emotion; for men, it more often means power and independence.
“While the differences are not mutually exclusive,” she says, “researchers hope the general finding will help people better understand their relationship with money, which may lead to better-informed financial decisions.”
One Miller client is a now a 55-year-old woman who ended a relationship a few years ago and came to Miller for advice. The woman thought she would receive $500,000 from her parents to use for her retirement. But after large medical bills for her mother and her father in long term care, there is little money left.
“We started an aggressive savings plan for her while she is still working at a high-paying job and a tragedy was averted,” Miller says. “The point is, tragedies are going to happen, but with planning you can control the impact they have.”
“Financial independence is a very subjective thing. I try to get clients to frame the definition of what makes them happy and then do the planning,” she says.
Another client, who had lost her husband nine years ago, planned to continue working for another two years to build her retirement income. But she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and she wanted to travel while she could.
Miller put her in an annuity and has her collecting Social Security survivor’s benefits while she lets her Social Security benefits grow. “Now she is retiring Dec. 31 and taking her first trip to Hawaii in February. These women epitomize some of the problems women can face,” Miller says.
Women have to face some hard truths in order to be prepared, she says. They should plan on outliving their husbands. “Many women may be prone to avoiding thoughts of life after their spouse moves on. While that may be romantic in a sense, it is highly impractical if you’re trying to live a long and fulfilling life.”