Ladies, keep calm and continue working!

Often times I complained to my husband how he loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. One day he turned to me and said, “The loading of the dishwasher issue could lead us to the “D” word”.

The “D” word in his sense was divorce.  I cowardly laughed at him but kept my mouth shut.  As an advisor in insurance and finance, plus being a middle-aged woman, I know the facts about how divorce or death have some impact on women’s Social Security benefits.  Ladies, you may argue that by the time you want the social security benefits, it will not be there. It will. And some of us may rely on it more than others. Longevity is a determined by key factors from family history, eating right, working out, and high quality medical technology and we all strive for it. But, longevity can turn into a risk if you outlive the money.

Don’t stop taking good care of yourselves.  Here are some facts:

  • Women receive lower benefits than men.  At age 65 or older, the average social security benefits women receive is about $13,500 per year, compared to $17,600 for men
  • At age 65 or older, nearly 3 in 10 women rely on social security as their only source of income
  • At age 65 and older, without social security benefits, nearly half of women would be poor

(Source: National Women’s Law Center)

In my case if one of the “D” words occurred, I would still need additional income to cover my own basic living expenses. I would also need to wait a decade to be at least age 60 to be able to file for his social security benefits. It means I would need to continue to work harder and longer. With the history of longevity in my family, who knows, after age 60 I could easily be living for 30 years or more!  I would definitely need social security benefits, along with other retirement assets to live. Last but not least, my own social security benefits will increase if I delay filing for them until age 70. The longer we can wait to file (up to age 70), the bigger the social security payments we’ll receive.

Remarriage could be a fantasy idea. Many say that marriage can bring financial security. In my humble point of view, the reality is men and women need to have financial security in line first to get married. So far, I have learned to be silent on the loading of the dishwasher issue.

As a woman to women, I wish all of us the best. Have a plan you like and know how it is going to work for your retirement.  Keep calm and continue working…

Om Sukheenai, is an insurance and financial services professional at Chehalem Insurance Associates. For more information on retirement solutions, email Om at

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