Two years ago I took up running. I downloaded an app that would get you from the couch to running a 10K. One day, I put my sneakers on and I opened the app. And it felt like the next thing I remembered, was being on the last day of the program. It seems like it just happened. I was there.
What helps us carry on when we curse every step? For me, I want to live longer. There’s much research being gathered with the growing Baby Boomer demographic about this timely topic. Here are a few points from a study compiled by the Social Security Administration:
• A woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86.6.
And those are just averages. About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95.
As I run I think about my clients and with every step worry that living longer can cause other dilemmas….like running out of money.
On average, women 65 years and older rely on a median income of around $16,000 a year — roughly $11,000 less than men of the same age, according to a Congressional analysis of Census data. And many elderly women rely exclusively on Social Security benefits.
The problem: Women earn — and save — less over their lifetimes than men, leaving them with a smaller nest egg. And because they tend to live longer, that savings has to last longer, too.
Much like the app I downloaded to coach me running, one day, we wake up and we are there – at retirement.
How do we close this gap?
1. Make sure you know your company’s benefits and that you take advantage of programs your workplace offers.
2. If you are a stay-home parent, make sure you are contributing to an IRA. Attend financial planning meetings with your spouse so that you understand your options and life insurance.
3. Start as early as possible, and like running, take it slow and steady. It’s going to hurt and you might actually miss out on a Starbucks or two. Take a look at your budget and find places you can shave off some money each month to contribute to a savings plan.
4. Wait for the breakthrough. When you start running you think you will never make it and then one day it sneaks up on you and you are running a 5K then a 10K. The same thing happens with savings…. one day when you open your statement you will be pretty proud of yourself. You’ve heard of runner’s high? Imagine having “saver’s high!”
I’m no running coach but I am a savings coach. Get a plan, get an app and start now! If I can save one person from experiencing the horrible reality of poverty in old age or from working longer than expected, then my days put in at the office and on the pavement are worth it!