There are a variety of reasons that could be drivers of the retirement savings gap that many women are facing…
- Prioritization – more focused on short-term financial needs
- Wage gap – often paid less to do the same job
- Maternity leave – leaving the workforce to raise a family
- Personal leave – leaving the workforce to care for a sick loved one
- Divorce – may be without an existing job/career at point of separation
- Solo parenthood – single mothers are far too common
Regardless of the source of the issue, the reality is that women, on average, save much less for retirement than their male counterparts.
This might not seem like a big concern at first, but when you consider that the average human life expectancy has never been higher and women tend to live longer than men, you can imagine a scenario where a woman could easily outlive the financial runway she has established for herself.
In this episode, we talk about ways that women can use entrepreneurial endeavors to not only catch up to their savings goals, but also create streams of income that can continue to sustain their lifestyle for the rest of their days.
You’ll learn about:
- Why women often fall behind on their savings goals
- What types of businesses women can start on the side to accelerate their savings plan
- What types of business endeavors are trending among women in the No Nest Egg Retirement community and elsewhere
- What steps you should take if you want to get your retirement plan back on track as soon as possible
References and Resources:
The No Nest Egg Retirement Community
ARTICLE: How Women Are Improving Their Retirement Outlook
ARTICLE: New Study May Explain Why Some Women Save Less Than Men For Retirement
ARTICLE: Why are women only saving half as much as men for retirement?
ARTICLE: Women fail to save enough for retirement. Here’s how to fix that
Transcription of This Episode
Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast where we give you the raw, unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401Ks are quickly becoming a thing of the past, so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future, we’re here to help. Let’s get started.
Hey there, James Sowers here and we are back with another great episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast for you. Today, my conversation is once again with Mr. Ian Bond and this one is all about how women who may be a little bit behind on their retirement savings for any number of reasons, whether that’s maternity leave, or they went through a separation or a divorce, or they’ve been going through life as a solo parent on a single income with maybe a couple of kids, whatever it is that has caused them to not hit their retirement savings goals. We talk about some strategies for how they can take back control of their retirement and not only make up the difference, or make up the gap from where they are to where they want to be, but go beyond that and start generating recurring streams of revenue that can continue to support them indefinitely throughout the rest of their life.
So I think it’s a really interesting conversation and especially timely given at the time of recording, we’ve got Serena Williams in the news for some of the ways that she’s being treated differently compared to her male counterparts and I think that this episode is similar in the fact that there are certain aspects of roles that women have traditionally filled and the transition that’s happening where they’re being empowered both at home and in the workplace that have an impact on retirement planning. I think that this episode is really about how we can do just that, we can empower women to take control over their own future and give them the tools and resources they need to build a business that can sustain their lifestyle indefinitely.
So, really excited for you to hear this conversation and as usual, I’ll be back at the end of it to tie up any loose ends and tell you about what we have in store next. So without further ado, let’s get into my conversation with Mr. Ian Bond, I know you’re going to love it.
Hey everyone, welcome back to the Red Pill Retirement podcast, my name is James Sours and I’m your host and I am joined as always by Mr. Ian Bond. Now Ian, I know you’re just getting back from a fantastic trip, some time away from the office, can you tell us a little bit about what you were up to?
Yeah, sure James, good to see you again. Well, the family and I just took a vacation which was also part exploration and we spent four days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the east side of the peninsula and then we went across the peninsula to an island on the west side, an island called Penang. There’s a colonial city, I think it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site called George Town and Malaysia’s one of these places with an incredible healthcare system, incredible cost of living, great ex-pat community, we really liked George Town, I’d been to Kuala Lumpur before. So we combined what is a new place for my wife and kids, although I had been to KL before, with a chance of looking around. Just seeing, could this fit at some point? Does it feel like it’d be something interesting for us if we might eventually want to look for some place to settle down. So that’s kind of what we do on vacation. We don’t make any sacrifices, we certainly stayed at nice places and had a lot of fun. So that’s what I was up to.
That’s awesome, that sounds like a great trip. If you’re new to the show, I think that’s a great illustration of the kinds of things that we talk about here. We talk about alternative retirement models and one of those is living abroad so that you can leverage the savings you have and some of the currency exchanges and things to your advantage while living in a beautiful place, having a great healthcare system and frankly, if you’re not ready to make that commitment or make that leap now, you can go on your normal vacation and like Ian was saying, use that as an opportunity to maybe vet or validate a place that you might want to retire to in the future. So that’s just one example of something that we talk about on the show.
Today we’re talking about a really interesting and timely topic, I think, and that’s all about in the past, women have been underpaid or maybe lagged behind on their retirement savings a little bit when compared to men and today we’re going to talk about how women can take control of that back into their own hands and start to improve their retirement situation through entrepreneurship and building a business. So I found this article on Forbes, which I’ll link up in the show notes but they had some interesting statistics around women and their retirement savings as compared to me. On average, women save just a little bit more than half as much as the men in their same age group. There are a bunch of different reasons that they say behind that. Some of that is around prioritization and during the childbearing years, women aren’t as concerned about saving for retirement as they are just getting the kids out the door and to school on time. Whereas men make it their top priority because historically that role has been as the provider.
So first Ian, I’d like to just ask, you run a community for people that are in this age group. Do you see this kind of situation where women are hitting the wall and seeing retirement around the corner but a little bit concerned about where they are financially and trying to make up a plan to make up that ground?
Yeah sure. I would say I was thinking about this. Just off of our blog and the comments, or people that email me, I get more cold engagement from women maybe 60% or 65%, to 35% or 40% from women than men. I don’t know why that is, that’s just an observation and we can talk about a lot of the considerations and concerns. How they got there? There’s a litany of reasons, it could be anywhere from the traditional baby boomer and Gen X role choices of women having career interruption to have children and all of the potential things that happen like that. In my own family, when my mom was unwell, my sister was the one that volunteered to go and take care of my mom and my brother and I did not. I’ve got a family, my brother does not have a family, my sister does not have a family so my sister was the one that volunteer and I think maybe women are more prone to do that but there’s a lot of reasons it happens but yeah, I think it’s absolutely the case that I get more engagement, cold engagement from women just strictly off the blog.
Now within in the community, there’s a very active dialogue and there I think it’s a safer place probably, but I think maybe it just is a … as you alluded to, a newer concept, or more top of mind. I’m almost trying to figure out why someone engages me, what’s their situation and why now? I always try to figure that out and it’s not an exact science.
Yeah, you know if somebody’s listening at home and they find themselves in this position I would say, first and foremost, don’t feel bad about it. You are not alone, there are plenty of other women facing these same challenges and like you said, there are a bunch of reasons why this happens and it’s completely justifiable. If you take maternity leave to raise two or three children and you’re out of the workforce for, it can be a decade or more, it’s hard, it’s nearly impossible to save for retirement during that time if you’re not working at all and then when you do come back into the workforce, you kind of feel like you’re playing catch up. I would say don’t feel any guilt or resentment about that because frankly, it’s never been easier to become an entrepreneur and quickly make up for lost time there. That’s kind of what we’re going to talk about today and I think that one example that I do want to make sure that we touch on is that women on average live longer than men and I know that you have a very specific story about someone inside of your community that brought that up to your wife about why she should be concerned about her retirement savings and the nest egg that you guys have.
Yeah, this really was striking. Last year, in June, I attended a live and invest overseas retirement conference in Portugal. We were looking to think about Portugal as a place we might ultimately want to retire, hey why not choose a capital city in Western Europe, okay? I quickly was befriended by a couple, and my wife was out sightseeing with my kids, Heidi and Ed and we ultimately had dinner with them and I remember … Heidi was probably was 73, 4, 5 and Ed might have been 80 and I remember we had dinner and Heidi grabbed my wife by the forearm and said, “You need to keep doing what you’re doing because I have plenty of capital but I don’t have cashflow and I don’t want to dip into my capital and you’re going to outlive him.” She was pointing at me, I said, “I hope you don’t know something I don’t know.” But she says, “You’re going to outlive him and think about cashflow.” She was incredibly direct about it and I was really kind of taken by the fact that here she is in her 70s, really thinking hard about this, really interested in our eCommerce activities too. So that’s the most striking example that I can tell you.
Yeah and I think the most interesting point to emphasis there is that she does have a nice size nest egg. She does have a set of money that she has set aside, or they have set aside for retirement but what she is saying is, “I don’t want to just draw from that because then I’m going to be up every night wondering when I’m going to take the last dollar out of that account. What I want is cashflow, I want money coming in every single month to cover my expenses so I don’t have to touch the nest egg.” That becomes an inheritance for somebody or whatever you want to do with it at the end of your life, but instead of drawing, drawing, drawing down from a big bucket of money, you want money coming in every month to cover your expenses so that you don’t have worry about that.
Well, so James, going back to your original point. If Heidi was 75 at the time, she could easily live another 20 or 25 years and so that is a … I don’t know what her nest egg is, they were well-to-do for sure, this conference wasn’t cheap, but 20 or 25 years of funding would be daunting for anyone and you need to be thinking in those terms, I think.
Yeah, for sure, and that’s at 75. If she retired at 65 like most people plan to or hope to, or even earlier, then that’s another 10 years. So you’re trying to basically plan for retirement that’s almost as long as you are in the workforce. Like you said, that can be a daunting task so what you want instead is revenue coming in every month from some kind of a business venture that can take care of you over the long term.
Yeah, well look, you know I complain about this longevity thing all the time. This is a terrible thing that we’re all going to live too long. You really don’t want to have that mindset but now … Look, when the traditional retirement age was established, the age of death was not too far behind when people starting collecting retirement. Now there’s almost another third of your life that’s left after that. So it’s a whole different ballgame.
Well and the nature of work has changed as well. That used to be a lot more manual labor positions and at 65 you had to retire. You had a lifetime of doing manual labor and fairly broken at the time physically-
… but now, in today’s world, we’re working digitally and we’re working with software and we’re using our brains more than our brawn for the most part, so we can work longer and later into life and still be happy and enjoy the quality of life that we had without being stressed out physically, mentally or emotionally. So that’s definitely a changing-
… stressed out, physically, mentally or emotionally. So, that’s definitely a changing part of the landscape, is one that needs to be considered when we’re talking about retirement planning. So, I love the stories that we’ve shared so far, but while we’re on the topic of this woman giving your wife some advice about her retirement savings. I know that your wife … It was in one of these situations, before it happened. She took time off, and then was saying whether she should go back into the workforce, or maybe not go back to work, or do something entrepreneurial. So, tell us a little bit about that situation.
Sure. So, my wife was a very high level executive assistant. I would say, kind of a department coordinator in an investment bank, and she took eight years off from the workplace, and got our two kids into school. And she describes the moms in her group of friends, of our kids’ friends as, a third of them never leaving the workforce, so they were never able to attend any of their kids’ activities, and left their kids as they were … before they went to school. Left them at home with their nanny. And then the other two thirds … of the other two thirds, some small percentage didn’t want to ever work, and the rest of them, were all trying to struggle to get back into the work place. And she describes just the challenge around, kind of missing the most recent technology upgrades in the office, and feeling like you’re a step slow as to policies and procedures. Very daunting, and she definitely, when she was going through the interviewing process … I would call it discrimination, or at least a handicapping of the fact that people thought that well, “She’s done this before, maybe she’ll do it again.”
So, easier to take someone maybe who is younger, and looks like they were going to have a … Not have to have the departures from work early, because there’s a kid problem or something like that. It was really a daunting challenge for her, and so, literally when she got an offer to go to work at an investment bank, I mean, the friends all rallied around her, and said any way they could possibly help … She had help from the stay-at-home moms, and she had help from the moms that were still working, saying, “Look, whatever you need, you know, if you run into a situation that you don’t exactly know what’s going on, call me, I’ve still been working. And if you need me to pick up the kids, because you’ve gotten waylaid, call me, and I’ll help out.” It was wonderful. We had a wonderful group of friends.
Yeah, and what I love about that story is, you kind of cover all three options, right? And what we’re here today to say, I think, is that there’s no right or wrong to this, it’s a personal choice. You can go back to work certainly. You can choose not to work, and you can choose entrepreneurship. But, if you try to go back to work, and you find difficulty re-entering the workforce, for whatever reason. If you suspect discrimination or something like that, the fact of the matter is, you’re putting a hiring decision in someone else’s hands, and they’re evaluating you and your recent past, and they’re making a personal decision about whether or not to hire you, and in any case, whatever you think about the situation, that’s not the best place to be, right? You want to have control over your future, and you want your input to determine your outcome. And the best way to do that, I think, is through entrepreneurship and being a business owner. It gives you the most flexibility, and it gives you the most control, because the results that you get, are directly determined by the energy, the effort, that you put in.
So, what we’re here today, to do, is to kind of weight that. And I know, your wife ended up with an e-commerce store, and now a portfolio of e-commerce stores. So can you talk about the decision … when she made the decision not to go back to the workforce, but instead to be an entrepreneur? How did you settle on what path to pursue?
Just to remind you, when I relocated four years ago, the month of September in 2014, my wife waited till the following summer, June of 2015, to bring the kids overseas. And so, we were apart for, call it, nine months or something like that. And when she arrived overseas, there really wasn’t a large pool of jobs available for her with her skill set, on the one hand. On the other hand, I had thought through the fact that ultimately I will be reaching retirement age, and I would like to have an alternative source of income, away from the job. And I got very deep into the e-commerce and the online world. And so … We had actually talked about this before she took her job, but when she got over basically, I kind of steered that decision, she was game for it, and then we plunged head in to purchasing a couple of websites pretty quickly, and having her come up to speed. As an alternative to a traditional job, something that would be portable when my employment ends, or when we decide to retire, we can take with us, and continue to monetize from wherever we end up after here.
So, that was the impetus for the whole thing. And I can tell you that her original trepidation, because it was new to her, was certainly very high, but once she was able to get her arms around the basics, which did not take very long, she was able to work around our kids schedule. So, drop the kids off at school, she’s working. Take the kids to activities, she can work from the soccer pitch, or the rugby pitch, or the ice skating rink. If she wants to, she has no problems. Last night, she was out with her friends, who work, and when she gets back, she checks on her team to find out if she missed anything. So, just total flexibility. She just needs to get the work done, and she’s very disciplined, probably more so than I am, in terms of kind of lining up her priorities, and getting them done. Now, I think she would … I know she would say, “This is just a dream job.” I mean, she is able to work from vacations, when we go on vacation. She has been back to the US for a couple of semi-personal things, we always tie them to business related things.
And her team doesn’t know where she is. Her clients don’t know where she is. She’s able to work, and connect with everybody as need be, doesn’t miss a beat. So, it’s an amazing ability that you have these days, with the connectivity. All you need’s an internet connection. That’s it.
Yeah, and I’m glad we dug a little bit deeper into that, because it actually highlighted a point that I neglected to cover earlier, which is, you don’t have to jump into entrepreneurship 100%. And in fact, you frequently advocate for getting your job, and keeping your job, and building a business on the side, and extending your runway that way. And then at some point if you want to, you can always make the leap into entrepreneurship, after you’ve gained some traction with your business, and you have some revenue coming in. So, if someone is nervous about foregoing … returning to the workforce, in favor of becoming an entrepreneur, you don’t have to chose one or the other. You can go out there, and get a job, and still pursue an entrepreneurship on the side, and then those when those paths kind of cross to the point where it makes sense, you could make the leap at that point.
Now look, James. Rule number one at retirement rehab, is ‘lengthen your runway, and earn at the highest level, as long as you possibly can, so that you can ultimately make the choice on your own terms, not forced by anybody else.’ But, along with that, comes the great obligation, that you got to start. You got to get … You got to find something that’s going to work for you longer term. And the beauty is that, when you have an income coming in, the little setbacks aren’t so bad. The frustration is that, it can be a long day, if you’re trying to learn new skills, or work with … meet new clients or whatever it is. But, you’ve not had this conversation before. Give up Game of Thrones, give up all of the sports things, and find the time to do it. It’s so rewarding. And the other thing I will mention, and I say this … I feel like I repeat it almost every day to the people that I coach, which is, we always … The old adage is that, ‘we always overestimate what we can do in the short term, and we underestimate what we can do in the long term.’
So literally, you just pick something to get done today, and then tomorrow get something to get done tomorrow. When you wake up after six months, you’ll be just amazed at how far you can go. And that’s what’s going on in our community. Okay? What’s going on in our community, is people are … They have accountability threads, and they’re talking about what they’re getting done every day, and they’re getting encouragement from others. And there are other people copying, say, “Hey, you know, I saw that you were able to do that, now I’m going to go do that. I’m going to, you know, go and set up a profile on our freelancing site. I’m going to, you know, start to, you know, work on, you know, you know, you know, this area of interest, and you know, this is my to-do list.” And so, it’s amazing to see people help other people out when they get stuck, but it’s also … These accountability threads are really huge, because once you tell the world that you’re going to do it … First of all, you do it, but secondly, you get a lot of encouragement from people, which is wonderful.
Yeah, it’s kind of like, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ right? If you copy my motto, and you’re successful at it, then I’m happy for you. I’m not angry with you, because frankly the world is big enough for both of us to be successful without pulling back on one or another.
Look, the reality is that the … I got into whole e-commerce world by watching other people, listening to podcasts, and reading blogs of people that were in the trenches every day. I joined the Facebook groups that they’re in. I watched the good days, and I watched the bad days, and I just said, “Look, this is something I can do, and you know, if I … If you know that there are other people, out there doing it, you know, it’s kind of hard to take a call that you, you know, you’re not going to be able to do it.” Now, there is a mindset shift from being an employee, to being kind of an entrepreneur, because it’s very easy to go into a place of work, and kind of have, kind of the same kind of routine every day. But, you figure it out pretty quickly.
Yeah, totally agree. You know, if somebody does want to take that first step today, if they’ve heard what we’ve said, and they say, “You know what? I want to give it a shot.” You guys landed on buying an e-commerce store, and then a couple more, but that’s just one model. What are some of the other things that women who want to take back control of their retirement planning, can do on the entrepreneurial. How can they kind of dip their toe on the water, and see if entrepreneurship is right for them.
So, I would say that, with regards to … First of all, I always talk about the big three, right? There’s coaching consulting, and then there’s freelancing, and there’s a couple of flavors in freelancing, and then there’s e-commerce universe. But I would say that depending … If you have specific skills, there is an enormous need for people that can write, people that can edit …
For people that can write, people that can edit, if you have only a little bit of training in social media you can do social media management for people. If you have any teaching experience, I don’t care if it’s Sunday school or it’s swimming lessons, there is an enormous opportunity for someone who has any teaching experience to either create courses on something where you have a knowledge set or a passion or to just use your teaching to help other people in some way that you get employed to help them.
Look, obviously if you’re a professional, a career professional and have an opportunity to do consulting, you know who you are and you just really need to figure out exactly how to structure that. Those would be the major ways that I see people doing it. The easiest thing, quite frankly, is to just start to get involve in freelancing, see what it’s like, see how it fits and then see if you want to graduate from there.
Yeah, and I think what that really starts with is a personal audit, some self reflection and say what are my skills, what do I like to do and then look at the options available to you out there. If you left the workforce as a marketing director then maybe you’re the perfect person to be a coach or a consultant for startup companies who can’t afford to hire a head of marketing and you can just come in and consult them on their strategy and their execution. Similarly, if you find that you’re a super organized person and you love running the household and managing everybody’s calendars for the kids, when’s their sports and maybe even your husband. I know my wife manages my calendar for me sometimes when I need it. If you’re super organized like that then maybe you’re good to be a virtual assistant and you can work freelance in that capacity.
Yeah, let me mention something. Right now we’re doing a fairly large survey of exactly how far people are on a monthly income basis from what they anticipate their needs are going to be and we’ll be releasing the survey results fairly soon but the numbers are, that they’re not that far away. Two, three, four thousand dollars a month is looking like it’s kind of like the fat part of the bell curve to be honest with you. Two, three thousand dollars is a fairly easy amount of income to construct if you get started and build a lifestyle that will be absolutely the lifestyle that you want, kind of like I described for my wife, what works for her. Yes, you have to be organized, yes, you have deliverables because you have clients but you get to do it on your own terms and so it’s really not that far of a reach. I would say that’s the most exciting thing, is once people see that opportunity then they really get engaged, it’s fun to see.
Yes, so it sounds like what you’re saying is let’s just assume somebody thinks that they can live off of $50,000 a year indefinitely so that’s roughly 4,000 and some change every month and you’re measuring how far away they are from that based on what their nest egg looks like.
Social security, nest egg, potentially a pension, something like that. No-one want to touch their nest egg so it’s the cashflow the nest egg throws off and a little bit of cushion. People also look to figure out obviously how they can shrink the expense side so we work on both sides of that equation. It’s just not that far that you’re away and it’s just not that hard to figure out how to get there. Again, you got to start, it looks daunting starting from zero but after your first couple of engagements which you will spend too much time on and you will stress out over and I’ve done it and I’m doing it, whenever I stretch myself but you learn how to manage it, it’s wonderful really.
Yeah, and I love that we’re going to probably talk about those survey results in a future episode I’m sure but I love that example and I love that you brought that up because that’s really what we’re tackling here today. If you know that you need $50,000 every year on retirement to live the lifestyle that you want but based on the nest egg because you’re out of the workforce for a while, whatever the case may be you’re not going to hit that number simply drawing down from the nest egg you have now, well then you need to do exactly what we talked about today and take charge of your retirement by generating income in some fashion. We covered a bunch of ideas for how to get started with that today and of course, we’re going to link up the study and the community and the survey results when they’re ready. We’ll put them all in the show notes and I guess we’ll probably talk about them in a future episode. I loved what we talked about today Ian, is there anything you want to leave the folks with before we hop off?
Yeah, I just want to add and punctuate with what we’re ending with which is however much you think you’re going to need you’re overestimating it.
You’re looking at it from the lens of where you’re living now and there are so many creative ways to lower your cost of living and when you do exit probably the expensive place you’re living for something less expensive and you start to shed a lot of things that you kind of take for granted in your forties and fifties that you no longer take for granted when you really start to think it through, you’re overestimating it. You’re actually closer than you think. There’s a great reason to have hope, let me tell you.
I love it, I love that as a takeaway and if you are a woman listening to this episode and for whatever reason you’re not comfortable with where your retirement is at, maybe you took some maternity leave, maybe you took some time off to care for a loved one that was sick, maybe you went through a divorce, whatever the case may be, if you’re not happy with where you’re at right now the message we want to send home is there are options available to you. You don’t have to do it alone and the folks in the retirement rehab community are there to help you achieve your goals and even exceed them so you can live the lifestyle you want for the rest of your life.
Ian, thank you so much as always for your time today and we’ll be looking forward to the next conversation with you here soon.
Great James. Really one of my favorite topics I think. I get so many inquiries from our women readers and the community is very vibrant and it’s just fun to be engaged with people. I think the fact that we have solved this as a couple and we think about it as a couple might help people get there but thanks, it was a wonderful conversation so thank you.
Same to you and hopefully the folks at home check out the show notes and check out the community and we’ll be back with another great episode here in the near future. Thank you Ian, take care.
All right folks, so there you have it, that concludes my conversation with Mr.Ian Bond all about how women can take back control of their future and their retirement planning through entrepreneurship. I hope you enjoyed it. I think we covered a lot of great point here today and I think especially poignant is the fact that whether you’re behind in your retirement savings or you have a nice little nest egg set aside, the trends that exist in longevity and the human lifecycle indicate that we’re going to live longer than ever before which means the time that we will be out of the workforce and in retirement is longer than every before. Even if you have that nest egg and you’re drawing down from it odds are that it won’t be enough and that by the end of your retirement period you’ll be out of money or very short on money and you’ll be looking at others for help.
If you want to avoid that and you want to make sure that you have a safety net to take care of you for the rest of your life and it won’t keep you up at night then I think entrepreneurship is a great way to generate revenue streams that happen every single month and continue to pay you even after you’ve stopped working.
We shared some strategies for how to get started with that today but the most important tip, I think, is remember that you don’t have to do this alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or scared, you’re not alone, other people have been there and the no nest egg retirement community is the perfect place to connect with other folks who are feeling the same way, have the same goals and aspirations as you. Might be a few steps ahead of you in the process and are excited to help you get to where you want to be so that’s all I have for you today. If you are a woman who finds herself in this situation and this struck a chord with you, please let us know, similarly if you know a woman in your life who needs to hear this, please send the URL her way so that she can be inspired to take back control of her retirement and her future. Until next time, we’ll see you on the other side.