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Women outlive men, but are they as careful with estate planning? p2

We just saw an article about the gender wage gap. According to the White House, women in the U.S. -- and in Pennsylvania, for that matter -- make just 77 percent of what men make. That leaves roughly half the workforce 23 cents short for every hour they work. That wage gap, if nothing else, should be an incentive for women to be especially careful in their retirement and estate plans.

The goal, then, is to be careful with your savings and your retirement income. For the most part, we would rather not use up our retirement money on medical bills. But some of us face a real risk of a long final illness. Or we know that living alone could mean recuperating from an accident in a nursing home.

Financial experts say women should consider long-term care insurance. The coverage will help with medical and hospital bills. Some plans even pay for in-home care.

The suggestion comes with a couple of caveats, though. First, the younger you are when you purchase the coverage, the less expensive the premiums will be. A woman in her 60's may not qualify for the policy or may have to pay much more.

Second, financial advisers urge women to read the policies carefully before purchasing the coverage. Look for information about when the coverage will kick in -- when you're admitted to the hospital, or several weeks later? -- and how long the coverage will last. Think carefully about your health history and your family's health history, too. If your mother and grandmother were in perfect health well into their 90's, what are the chances you will have the same luck?

In future posts, we will talk about other tools women should consider. There is, in fact, a long list.

Sources:, "6 estate planning tips for women," Tom Nawrocki, June 30, 2014

USA Today, "Women can't escape gender gap even in retirement," Claire Davidson, June 21, 2014

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