5 Ways For Women To Achieve Retirement Security

Mary Tooles should be on track to a secure retirement. She has a college degree and more than 10 years of experience working in operations management for major corporations, including FedEx

(FDX), OfficeMax

(OMX), and Target 

(TGT). On paper, she’s an ideal candidate to be socking away savings in workplace retirement accounts.

But Tooles left her position two years ago as a store manager at Target, where irregular, long hours competed with her growing responsibilities at home.

A divorced mother of two who receives almost no child support, she also cares for her 88-year-old father, who lives with her and has mild dementia. She found a new position with more regular hours, but it pays one third less than her old job.

Tooles also is saddled with her Orlando, Fla., home, which she purchased with a 20% down payment before the housing-market crash. And, she’s putting her two sons through college.

At age 50, her retirement savings are meager, and “there’s no retirement plan in sight” outside of Social Security and a small amount of pension income earned at her various jobs. “Retirement is just a big unknown,” she says.

Adds Wayne Blanchard, an Orlando-based financial planner who advises Tooles: “It’s one thing to be a single parent, and another to be a single parent with caregiver duties on top of it. Her challenges have made it very difficult to save for retirement.”

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