Sharon Mooney is a trained financial consultant and educator committed to teaching mothers how best prepared they should be for their retirement. Sharon is a mother herself, and understands that “as moms, we are used to putting ourselves last.”
Whether it is showering last so that everyone else has hot water, or not eating until everyone else’s plates are full, nobody understands self-sacrifice quite like a mother.
However there is one area in which Sharon wants moms to reconsider their priorities: retirement.
Sharon wants moms to know that when it comes to retirement, they need to look out for themselves. Their retirement should not come second to their partner’s. She knows that life happens and unfortunately, you cannot always rely on your partner’s plan to fully protect you.
Learning to Cover Your Bases
Sharon did not plan on getting divorced and no longer having access to her husband’s retirement plan. She had liquidated her own retirement account as a young woman to supplement her family’s move to Montana.
It forced her to start from scratch financially, and learn the importance of prioritizing one’s own needs in retirement.
“Many women feel selfish doing this,” she says, “like you are planning on your relationship to fail.” Sharon understands however, that this temporary discomfort is highly preferable to long-term financial insecurity.
Most importantly, it allows women to cover their bases and put a value on their own retirement. Especially for stay-at-home mothers who do not have access to the typical employee 401(k).
Diversifying your Retirement Savings
The need to prioritize your own retirement is not limited to stay-at-home moms. For moms who are the family breadwinner, or in a double-income home, planning and protecting your retirement savings are just as important.
Sharon wants these women to know the importance of not putting all their eggs in one basket.
What many people don’t understand is that putting the entirety of your retirement savings in a 401(k) does not guarantee you will get all that money back. Many companies use employee retirement savings to broker deals on the stock market, making that money less secure than people often think.
There are definite perks to employee 401(k)s, such as the company matching the amount put in, and Sharon encourages women to take advantage of these policies. However, working women should also be putting savings into self-owned or self-directed accounts to ensure their safety.
Another important factor to consider is what happens to your retirement funds when you leave a job.
The average person will change jobs seven times in their career. Ensuring that you can roll over the retirement funds from your previous position is crucial.
Leaving your retirement funds with your previous employer may seem like a safe bet. But if that company experiences financial trouble, they can access employee retirement savings and use that money to try to save the company, as it is a company asset.
Planning for the Future
Sharon knows firsthand how uncomfortable these conversations can be, and many people prefer to wait until later in life to deal with them. But she is committed to helping women understand just how important it is to plan, and start planning early.
Many put their hopes into social security to supplement their retirement. They don’t realize that social security is not money put into a savings account, but rather money currently being used to fund retirees.
Sharon teaches that Social Security is not a sure bet; the economy can change and leave people without a safety net or a backup plan.
She also encourages people to pay attention to their tax bracket. The amount of money available to you in social security depends on your tax bracket. If your assets increase (ie. retirement income), the amount you can count on in social security payments go down.
Another way people can practice unconventional thinking around retirement is to account for inflation.
In the 1980s, a loaf of bread was worth roughly 60 cents. At the current rate of inflation, a loaf of bread will be worth $16 in forty years. People should plan for retirement as if the nest egg that they have been saving is not enough.
Sharon knows this kind of planning is not sexy or exciting, but is absolutely critical to long-term financial security.
While it sometimes makes her the bearer of bad news, it also establishes Sharon as a compassionate and trusted figure for moms who are concerned about retirement but don’t know where to start.
Learn more about Sharon W. Mooney or how you can be more financially strategic through her services by visiting her website.