Women need to plan earlier for retirement and save more

Personal finance

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By Lorraine Mirabella

When she was working and raising a family in Maryland’s Howard County, Bonnie Bird envisioned retiring in her early 60s and traveling with her husband. But that path took a different turn after the couple divorced in 1999 — and so had to divide everything, from their home to their savings.

Looking toward an uncertain future, Bird worked with a financial planner to map out how much longer she’d need to work and how to start rebuilding her finances. Bird, who had spent her childhood in Glenelg, North Carolina, decided to move back to that state, where she could live more affordably. She arranged with her company for a transfer to Wilmington.

The divorce “changed how long I felt that I had to work and how much money I need to put away,” says Bird, 66, a regional manager in technology sales who expects to work, at least part time, until age 72. “I don’t have a matching fund from a partner to pay for those living expenses. It’s important to me to continue working as long as I feel healthy doing so, so I could be comfortable and still help my children.”

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