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Women often face many more financial challenges than men

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Women face many more financial challenges then men.

There are a number of social and economic reasons for this.

It is well documented that there is a difference in pay between the genders, although today about 26 percent of women earn more than their husbands.

Women often have fewer years in the workplace because of childcare responsibilities or caring for an aging parent.

This is starting to change as there are now more women enrolled in colleges and universities than men.

Today it has become almost a necessity to have two working spouses in a family.

Women typically outlive their spouse by six years. Part of this is because men often marry younger women and women usually live longer than men of the same age.

The average age that a woman becomes a widow is 58 12.

Forty-five percent of all unmarried women receiving Social Security benefits rely on that governmental program for 90 percent or more of their income.

Women are often more conservative about money than men, who are willing to take more risks.

Healthcare planning is a critical requirement.

Women are often forced to live for years with financial decisions made by their husbands unless they are involved early on in the financial-planning process.

Without proper planning, there could be a hole in a needed income plan.

It's important to have a reliable and steady stream of income much like your paycheck provided while you were working.

Your plan must be tax-efficient to minimize taxes due and multiply the effect of legacy planning.

When used properly, a stretch IRA may generate a much larger cash flow to your heirs.

Without a comprehensive review, you may disinherit some of your grandchildren or leave assets to people that you do not want to receive anything.

Women of all ages face issues when there is a major life-changing event such as marriage, re-marriage, widowhood or divorce.

Blended families are very common today and they present a whole new set of issues.

Too many advisors try to force a newly widowed woman to make quick choices that are not always in her best interest.

Some things must be dealt with immediately, but it may be better to have a pause before making any major changes.

Social Security plan SEC sticking with 8-game league football schedule ning is often more important for women than for men because of the above stated reasons.

When one dies, we know one Social Security check is going to cease to exist. Survivor benefits can be bigger than spousal benefits from Social Security.

This could help replace the lost check. You should work with a Social Security expert to maximize this important asset.

Often pension will stop or reduce at one person's death.

Also, most pensions do not include cost-of-living increases.

A good pension at the beginning of retirement will not seem as good in 20 years because of inflation.

All retirees, especially women, should make sure that their asset allocation will provide the safety, inflation protection and will last for their lifetimes.

It's important to eliminate surprises and reduce all the risk possible so that your retirement can truly be your golden years.

Next week we will look at why the right answer about Social Security might not be the correct answer. The difference could surprise you.

Gary Boatman is a certified financial planner and local businessman who serves as president of the Monessen Chamber of Commerce.

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