Smart Woman: Making Sense of Your Dollars

A woman makes 82 cents for every dollar a man makes on the job. Add it all up, plus the time women take off to raise their children, and they're losing about $400,000 over a 40-year career.  That means they need to start saving a lot earlier.

In your twenties, start living on 50% of your take-home pay. Put 20% more into debt repayment and retirement. In your thirties, build a back-up plan by saving 10 of your take-home pay for emergencies. Add an extra five-percent to your normal house payment to pay off the mortgage quicker.

At forty, accelerate your retirement by tucking away 10% of your paycheck each month. By doing this, a 30-year-old woman making $30,000 a year, will have nearly $300,000 saved for retirement by the time she's 55. Proof that a little saved now will pay off big in the end.

One tip to help you get started saving: the average family spends almost $2,700 a year going out to eat. That's $225 a month. Cut one night out, and you'll have an extra $100 a month for your retirement.

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