Listen up ladies – I have seen the future. It’s older, greyer and….very female. According to this lecture by Joseph F. Coughlin at MIT’s AgeLab, developed economies like Canada and the US have rapidly aging populations as the Baby Boomer generation hits 65 and starts to retire. The thing is, women live longer so, in just a few short years, we’re going to outnumber men – by a hefty margin. We will also be older, infirm – and, well, living alone. So says Coughlin who argues that society will have to “re-engineer” how it works to accommodate this huge boom of aging ladies. It means changing the way communities are built, how transportation operates and it also means a greater need for home services.
This vision of the future is fascinating. But there’s a big takeaway in here for women – especially when it comes to our finances. According to Statistics Canada, women will live six years longer then men – 77.4 versus 71.1 for men. That age gap means women require more savings for retirement and a different way of thinking about their dotage because there’s a good chance they’ll be taking care of themselves and their money.
The good news is that women today are already taking up the reins on the financial planning front – in this recent post, I noted that a high percentage of women are already responsible for making household financial decisions. It’s a big change from what I grew up with. My grandfathers on both sides managed all the money and made all the financial decisions
More than ever before, women need to think about saving early and stay focused on financial planning goals like retirement planning and estate planning. We need to be involved in the long-term financial decision-making if we’re in a relationship and, if not, we need to stay focused on creating an independent and sustainable financial future – older, greyer and hopefully wiser too!