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Better to start early to save for your dream retirement

Fulfilling a retirement vision calls for considerable planning, and women generally tend to outlive men, which means that they will need health care for longer.

Perhaps one of the things many of the women I know have in common when it comes to finances is not saving.

They blame it on the shopping temptations, body maintenance, and fancy dinners on weekends.

Beyond all that, they still have a desire to save. Although our the government provides its Emirati employees with an excellent retirement package, it does not mean that they should not be saving on the side for unforeseeable circumstances.

Fulfilling a retirement vision calls for considerable planning, and women, unlike men, have different circumstances to consider.

For one, they generally tend to outlive men, which means that they will need health care for longer.

In addition, during their careers, they often take more time out of the workforce to care for newborns, or sick family members, which has an effect on their savings.

When I asked older women, around the age of 40 to 50, about what they wish they had done differently regarding their finances, they said they wished that they had carefully planned their retirement and saved more early in their careers.

Though it is never too late to start planning your retirement, keep in mind these mistakes and try to avoid them:

Not setting out goals. I don't know about you, but I can certainly imagine my retirement years spent with my loved ones in a house by a beach somewhere. But it is important to keep in mind that planning a retirement requires having more details, such as: When do I want to stop working? Where would I want to live? How much money do I want to have in the bank?

Beware of starting late, taking saving breaks, and cashing out. Saving during the good times is probably one of the best gifts you could give your future self. As pressed as you may find yourself, try not to cash out your retirement savings. It is preferable to dedicate a separate bank account for them.

This takes us to not saving for long enough. The average life expectancy of a woman is 80 years, and men at 75 years, which means that a woman will need more access to funds for health care and other expenses, especially with consumer prices increasing every year.

Depending too much on your home value. Suppose your house is in a great location, and because of that it has survived real-estate market turmoil and price drops. You still cannot completely depend on that as a subsidy to your fund plan. Count it as a component of your overall retirement plan, but not as a sole factor to it.

Saving for your children's college education ahead of your retirement plan. I am not encouraging anyone to be selfish, but many tend to save for their children's college education ahead of their retirement plans. When it comes to children, there are many options, such as grants, scholarships, and loans to finance tuition, but not as many options when it comes to your retirement plan. That does not mean you should not save money for your children, but prioritise your retirement plan first.

Investing too traditionally. Many women tend to invest conservatively, mostly in fixed-income. Though this might somehow guarantee that they will not lose their investments, there is also a risk for not having real growth. Investment diversification will not only aid in a faster investment growth, but also minimise the risk against the ups and downs of the economy and having all your money in one place.

Last but not least, it is best to consult a professional financial adviser who could provide you with the best retirement options that would suit your career and lifestyle and who would be able to assist you in putting together a retirement plan.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati fashion designer and writer based in Abu Dhabi

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