Why It’s So Important to #ProtectYourRetirement
(This post is sponsored by She Speaks and Prudential. All thoughts and opinions are my own)
I am a firm believer in the power of women when they gather.
We birth children.
We nourish communities and each other.
We forge friendships, even among groups of strangers.
And we share with one another.
Recently, Prudential and SheSpeaks brought together a diverse group of women to talk about what they need to know at the various stages of their earning careers in order to have a happy, healthy retirement.
I’m always happy to spend time with Prudential Financial Professionals because they do such a great job of taking complicated issues and breaking them down into digestible nuggets as part of a plan of action.
There, amid the sweeping city views from atop the Dominick Hotel, a panel of women (present company included) shared our stories, hopes and fears about saving for retirement.
Who knew learning could be so much FUN?
Annamarie Lewis, a Prudential Financial Professional, gave us all great information to take away, including the importance of lifetime income, meaning having a way to manage and protect your funds to live securely throughout your retirement. We discussed how setting up an annuity can help provide a“paycheck” through retirement, thereby mitigating some of those investment and income challenges unique to women. It’s so important to think about protected lifetime income options because pensions have become more rare, and Social Security isn’t meant to be your only source of income in retirement- an annuity can help provide an income stream in retirement that you can’t outlive.
We all continued talking and sharing, when a woman in the back stood up and told her story.
She explained that, as a young woman, she had come into some money, more money than she ever thought she would have. Then life happened and she found herself struggling to get by.
She asked us if any of us had resorted to drastic measures to care for our families and I spoke up.
And that’s when the dam broke open.
As some of you may know, entrepreneur life is hard. It can be a real grind. For me specifically, erratic income coupled with trying to get a kid through college, has placed an extraordinary strain on my financial life. Fighting to keep my own emotion at bay, I told her that yes, in some cases, I had less money for groceries and whatever I bought, I made sure to feed my son first and I made do with what was left. I didn’t say it to be a hero; I said it because I know I’m not the only one.
It was a scary, raw and emotional moment but it cleared the way for others to tell their stories.
At the end of the evening, another woman stopped me and, with tears in her eyes, told me she had just lost of both her parents, was about to lose her job and was just completely overwhelmed.
I immediately tuned out the activity in the room and listened to her. I heard her describe the fear and shame and wondered what she would tell people. Immediately I was taken back to my own firing where I struggled with a lot of those same emotions; what will people think? What should I say?
She started to cry from what was obviously a painful experience for her and that’s when I told her it was going to be okay.
I didn’t know how or when.
It might not be great or even good.
But it WAS going to be okay.
How do I know?
Because I’ve been there.
It was hard. But it was okay and I am still here surviving.
There were two big things I took away from that evening.
First, we all have a story. And secondly, it’s not always what you think.
I am grateful for Prudential and SheSpeaks for providing a safe space for women to be vulnerable about something as personal as finances.
It’s all going to be okay..