When thinking about saving and investing, most people think about saving for their future retirement. But the need to save and invest doesn't end there. Throughout retirement, you'll continue to need financial strategies to make sure your money lasts. This is especially key for women, who have longer life expectancies than men. Here are some factors to consider in building a strategy for income in retirement.

How long might your retirement last?

When estimating your retirement income needs, it's important to assume you'll live a long time. Develop a realistic estimate of how much money you'll need each year in retirement by looking at your current spending. Think about expenses that may increase with age. After you've analyzed your potential expenses, take a look at your potential sources of income, such as Social Security.

Any expenses above and beyond the income provided by outside sources, including Social Security and pensions, will need to come from your personal savings and investments.

How much do you expect to receive from social security?

Social Security benefits are based on how long you’ve worked, how much you’ve earned and when you start taking benefits. On average, women's benefits tend to be lower than men's because women may spend fewer years in the workforce.

The age at which you start taking benefits also has a big impact on your retirement income over the long term. And if you'll be relying on your spouse’s Social Security benefits, his decisions about when to start taking benefits will impact your benefits, too. You can start receiving benefits as early as age 62, but you won’t receive your full benefit unless you wait until full retirement age (FRA) – anywhere from age 66 to 67, depending on the year you were born.

For more information, read The importance of Social Security for women.

How will you address health care & medical expenses?

Longer life spans mean women tend to spend more on health care over the long term. And many women may shoulder these costs alone due to divorce or widowhood. Without a spouse to serve as a caregiver, a woman may risk spending more on outside care over her lifetime.

Health care expenses can dramatically affect your quality of life in retirement, so it’s important to plan for them in your retirement strategy. You also need to consider your family's health care needs, as those costs can impact your retirement savings, too.

How we can help

At Edward Jones, we understand the special circumstances that are unique to women in general – and to you in particular. Ask your financial advisor for more information about retirement income strategies that take your circumstances into consideration.