THE BLOG
07/12/2014 07:57 am ET | Updated Sep 11, 2014

What's The Biggest Mistake Young Women Make? You May Be Surprised!

If you are in your 20s or 30s, I can guarantee that, when you are in your 60s, you will look back and think "How on Earth could I have been so stupid?" No, I'm not talking about your decision to get back together with what's-his-name or your tattoo. Trust me, these are relatively small things compared to the one mistake that I am going to reveal. According to the 44,000 women over 60 in the Sixty and Me community:

The biggest mistake young women make is not saving enough money for retirement. (Tweet This)

Seriously, when you are 60-years-old, just about everything else falls into perspective. You find the strength to forgive yourself and others. You start to love your tattoo. All those stupid mistakes that seemed so significant at the time fade away. Unfortunately, the one thing that sticks with you, no matter how much perspective you gain, is how you have prepared yourself financially.

My simple message is this: please start saving for retirement right now. Even if you only put aside $10 a week, please do it! Then, don't touch it for 40 years. I don't completely understand compound interest, but, trust me, it is your friend. Einstein once called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world. He was right. Saving just $10 a week, for 40 years, at 8% interest annually, works out to about $130,000, which will be helpful when you want to take a bucket list trip or buy a present for your grandchild.

You may think that Social Security (or your country's pension system) will take care of you in retirement. It probably won't. This is one of the reasons that more seniors than ever are rethinking retirement and starting a business instead of hitting the golf course. So, the best thing to do is take control of your own financial future, starting today.

I apologize if this sounds a bit preachy. But, don't take it from me. Listen to the 1000's of women in the Sixty and Me community who wish they had saved more for retirement. These were women who had amazing careers. They were business women, nurses, doctors, accountants and lawyers. But, regardless of their successes, they all wished that they had saved more.

In a recent post on Facebook, I asked them "How do you manage if you live on a pension?" Here are a few of their responses. As you can see, not saving enough for retirement can have a big impact on your life after 60.

  1. Not easy to manage on a pension, after working and earning a decent salary
  2. Our car is 12 years old and I can't afford another one, that's life for us on pensions
  3. We pay for heating, electricity, water, and cook healthy food from the marketplace
  4. No stuff, no travelling, no presents...it's impossible to find extra job in our age
  5. At my age, I don't need or want "stuff." I save money to spoil my grandchildren
  6. As an artist, I have honed my survival skills over years of learning to live with less
  7. Plant a garden and put your own skills to use if you sew or knit. Use your creativity!
  8. I shop at thrift stores, I love my local library, and I paint
  9. A little more financial security would be welcome as life can get pretty stressful
  10. I would love to travel, but basically I am very good at making my own fun
  11. I see my sisters raise their eyebrows. they simply cannot imagine life without luxuries
  12. I live in and love thrift shops
  13. I use the public library for books and access two very wonderful free art galleries
  14. I take interesting walks and attend free music concerts with friends
  15. My church also is a good place to go for some social or volunteer activities
  16. I am on social security and when I turn 65 I will get free bus train and ferry transport
  17. With great difficulty most of the time - but at least I am still alive
  18. Carefully
  19. Keep it simple
  20. I get stuff from charity shops, and we live well but frugally
  21. Started at age 15, worked all my life and still working part time
  22. I am looking at moving to countries where the cost of living is much less
  23. Shop wisely and use whatever coupons, money off bargains you can
  24. Try and put a small bit away for trips, join an active age group and avail of their services
  25. Very frugally!
  26. From one day to the next
  27. I cut corners but have enough to spoil my grandson at least a little
  28. Budget carefully and barter with friends for items or services
  29. Be happy with less money
  30. Selling things I no longer need at a consignment shop or garage sale
  31. You don't. You exist
  32. I survive just, it is not easy and it is getting worse as time goes on
  33. You just have to prioritize
  34. Write down and keep track of what I spend
  35. Pay the bills, go to food banks. No travelling, no gifts, no extras
  36. Very frugally and carefully. Use coupons when you shop
  37. My family subsidize my house rent by owning it. I pay half so extremely grateful
  38. Nothing extra including traveling. Free entertainment only. Exercise by walking
  39. Member of food co-op for bulk orders split with friends
  40. It's hard you have to have a job. I'm 69 and still need to work to pay the bills
  41. We live on one pension and it is from pay check to pay check
  42. I buy "antiques" at flea markets, fix them up and sell them in Vienna
  43. With great difficulty
  44. It is not easy
  45. By buying staples in sacks from the Chinese or Indian markets
  46. The simple answer is you don't cope. You are basically robbing Peter to pay Paul
  47. We get part pension because hubby loaded up his super, so we manage quite well
  48. With care, I manage but I am very careful, I don't drink at all and I am a non-smoker
  49. If you are lucky enough to live near a university there are quality recitals and shows
  50. Only having a state pension and as a widow it is not easy, but I manage well enough
  51. To live with style and grace I live in countries like Belize, Guatemala, and Panama
  52. We don't live. We exist
  53. Very carefully and live on a tight budget
  54. It takes talent
  55. Not well!
  56. Very carefully. Try to get a part time job
  57. You have to buy cheap things ... so you can pay your direct debits
  58. Had to move into my daughter's basement and looking for part-time work
  59. Have to think twice before buying anything
  60. We grow most of our own veg, make our own wine and waste very little

If you are in your 20s or 30s, I can't give you enough encouragement to start saving today. Trust me -- you won't regret it. If you are already reaching retirement, please share your own experiences with month with the younger women in your life. They deserve to benefit from your wisdom.

Do you agree that the biggest mistake that young women make is not planning for their financial future? What other advice would you give to young women who are just starting their careers? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or in the retirement planning section of the Sixty and Me Forum.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

8 Ways To Prepare For Retirement