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Greece versus ChinaEmail Marketing Business Opportunity - Helen BairstowGender is alive & well -- Part 4The Easiest way to do a Client NewsletterTeaching Kids to Value Things that Don't Cost Money.Why Warren Buffett won't buy a NewspaperMore Information About the CGT Small Business Retirement ExemptionA How To Book Of Self Managed Super Funds
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Gender is alive & well -- Part 4

Click here to buy - A How To Book of SMSF's by Tony Negline
Lester Wills

This is the final installment in my series based on the report from the ING Institute for Retirement Research on the Gender Gap in relation to retirement savings, entitled: "GENDER GAP: Women & Retirement...all is not equal".

As I noted last time, increasing use of automatic enrollment in voluntary retirement savings plans may help kick-start retirement savings, as the introduction of compulsory savings did in Australia, but such approaches alone will not solve the retirement savings problem. Indeed, automatic systems in the US (and in other parts of the world) may not result in adequate savings rates, particularly for women, as they are often based on a percentage of a lower salary, especially when women need to accumulate more in terms of real dollars to accommodate longer expected life spans. This is exactly the problem that has developed in Australia, although 9% o salary is a lot better than the 3% that is common in the US.

As the ING report notes, women as consumers, wield increasing and in many cases overwhelming economic power. All interested parties, employers, advisors, financial product manufacturers etc. need to help women begin to exercise the same power and control over their own financial futures. The authors of the ING report argue that education, products and tools need to focus on the empowering steps women can take to achieve retirement independence.

They must accommodate the many generational and cultural differences that make women more than a single niche market, as they have been historically considered by many marketing efforts. Not only that, special consideration needs to be given to women on their own, heads-of household and single, who are at increased risk of underfunded retirement and have an greater need of relevant, practical advice and tools to help them overcome the substantial obstacles they may face.

Many of the tools and messages women need to better prepare for retirement exist today including: Lifecycle funds and managed accounts; varied and multi-media educational platforms, websites, tools and advocacy groups; automatic features in plans; financial advisors and planners; and proposed parameters for advice within Defined Contribution plans.

There's not a single one of these developments that's intrinsically "feminine" or solely benefitting women as opposed to men. But preparing for retirement is different for women than it is for men. It's not so much a question of what or how, but an issue of more, longer and better.

In terms of communicating with and reaching women, the ING report suggests the following:

Whilst not full proof, these suggestions from ING should at the very least make people think about the best approach. However, it is always worth remembering that one size does not fit all.

For those interested the report is:

GENDER GAP: Women & Retirement...all is not equal

By Catherine Smith, CEO of U.S. Retirement Services for ING

and Deb Dupont, Director, ING Institute for Retirement Research

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