Financial Tips for Women: How to Prepare for Retirement

How Women Can Better Prepare Financially for Retirement

woman with financial paperwork

Why should women think about saving?

Did you know women workers have less than half of the total household retirement savings than men do, with an estimated median of $57,000 versus $118,000. This gap becomes even more troubling with the understanding that women tend to live longer than men. There are two top reasons why:

  1. Women are paid less than men. Women are paid 83 cents for every dollar men earn, and that gap is even bigger for women of color.
  2. Women take more time off from work for care giving responsibilities. Women are more likely than men to take time off from work to take care of children or other relatives. This leads to lower overall contributions to Social Security, leaving them with less retirement income from this source.

Savings Solutions for Women

There are 3 key solutions to close the financial gap and ensure financial preparedness and stability as one nears retirement:

  1. Review your earnings situation. If a woman thinks they can do better, they should consider looking for a better-paying job; ideally one with a 401k plan or something similar to boost their savings, even if it’s a part-time job or a self-employment option. If married or living with a partner with whom financial savings and goals are combined, make sure you understand the family’s financial situation and stay up to date on the family’s finances.

  2. Plan Early, Have a Goal, Make a Budget. Prepare a budget. Track monthly expenses so you know on average how much you spend on necessities like rent or mortgage, food and utilities, and have an idea of what you think you will need to spend monthly in retirement. Multiply that by 12 months, and then again by the number of years you expect to live past your retirement year. Add that to your expected Social Security annual income, plus any other income streams you know you have (such as an employer pension or interest on investments) to estimate how much more you need to start saving in order to reach your goal. For example, say you expect to retire at the age of 68 and live to be 95 years old. That is 27 years. If you think you will need $4,000/month to live on, and if you expect to earn $3,000 in monthly Social Security checks between yourself and your partner, with no other expected income stream, that leaves a gap of $1,000/month. Multiply this by 12 equals a need of $12,000/year; multiplied by 27 years = $324,000 of retirement savings needed over your retirement years.

    Also, remember to take into account that there will be the occasional extraordinary costs such as buying a new car, replacing an appliance, or paying for medical or prescription costs not covered by insurance. It’s important to be aware of your health insurance coverage options once you retire and include those monthly expenses in your retirement budget. There is an additional option of planning to continue to work past retirement age, either full-time or part-time. This can be done either in the same field or in an entirely new one.

  3. Talk to a certified fee-only financial planner about out how to invest any savings you have and need to put aside going forward to reach your financial goal by retirement. Make a plan and stick to it, but stay in periodic touch with your financial planner to evaluate your progress and stay on top of any necessary changes over time.

Meet our Soroptimist Author

Jenny Huntley is a member of Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs, while also a CPA and she has an MS in Accountacy and a BS in Business Administration from SDSU. She’s worked her entire career in the Accounting and Tax fields.

When asked why she’s passionate about women and finance, she says, “My parents both taught me the importance of being financially self-supporting. My parents were both immigrants who grew up in Europe during WWII. Neither was able to get a high-level education because of the war, but both worked hard, lived within their means, and were able to retire comfortably. 

Most schools don’t teach basic personal finance though, so I feel there is a need to try to help people in this area. This is specially important for women, who many times end up raising their families on their own, earn less than men in general, and may have to struggle to either pay for childcare, or leave the workforce temporarily to raise their children on their own.”

Race Across the West Scholarships

Sylvia with Borrego High School Senior Students

Racing Across the West for Borrego Springs High School Seniors

In less than 2 weeks, our very own Soroptimist Sister Sylvia Maas will be making a 930-mile bike trek from Oceanside Pier to Durango, Colorado. And she’s raising money for Borrego Springs High School seniors as she rides!

Race Across the West (RAW) was started in 2008 and is one of the most challenging of the domestic RAAM qualifying races. It is quickly becoming a global race, having had over 10 countries represented.

Racers will make their first time station stop at Christmas Circle on June 14, around 5 p.m., right here in Borrego Springs!

Sylvia Maas, Cyclist

Racing for Borrego High School Seniors

After moving here last year, Sylvia joined Soroptimist of Borrego Springs and began to volunteer with seniors at Borrego Springs High School, helping students fill out scholarship applications for colleges, junior colleges, and vocational programs.

“Equity in education is a hot topic that came to the forefront during COVID. Borrego Springs High School is a perfect example of the imbalances that plague small rural towns,” Sylvia says, “From lack of reliable internet access, to language barriers between school-student-home-applications, these inequities are real. Typically counseling departments deal with college and scholarship applications, however Borrego Springs High School has no counselor, adding to students challenges.

Race Across the West High School Senior Scholarships

Sylvia merged her passion for cycling and education equity into purpose: she’s raising money for Borrego Springs High School seniors through our Race Across the West High School Senior Scholarship Fund.

The purpose of this endeavor is to provide scholarships to students to help with the initial expenses of college including: moving, transportation, computer, and other needs. Each scholarship will be for $1000. An anonymous donor has offered to match these scholarships up to $10,000! The recipients will receive the funds shortly before they begin college in the fall.

Your donation will help get students started on their next phase of life with the confidence and conviction that is shared by their peers.

Sylvia says, “My hope is to have multiple scholarship recipients. Any help you can give is appreciated!”

You can donate to our Borrego Springs High School Senior Scholarship Fund today! Select “Race Across the West HS Senior Scholarship” at our donation PayPal. All donations to Soroptimist are tax deductible.

Reaching Across Continents

Borrego Springs Reaches Out to Rwanda Girls

What if you had to miss school or work because you did not have proper menstrual supplies? How many days per year would you lose in education and wages simply because you got your period? What if no one ever taught you about menstruation or worse: if menstrual taboos and myths made you feel ashamed of your body?

This is the situation for women and girls in Rwanda and affects more than 500 million women and girls worldwide.

Soroptimist + Days for Girls

Soroptimist Member, Kathy D. In March, Soroptimist of Borrego Springs member Kathy Dice will be traveling to Rwanda. And while she is there, she will be taking our cash donations and will order supplies and health education for over 100 girls at the local Rwanda Days For Girls Enterprise.

For over a decade, Days for Girls (DfG) has been working to improve the lives and livelihoods of women and girls in developing countries, providing health education and reusable, sustainable feminine hygiene supplies, which are often hard to come by. Borrego Springs Soroptimists are fundraising in February to bring supplies to 100 young girls in Rwanda.

A Shared Mission to Help Women and Girls

In a remote area near Akagera National Park, Kathy will visit the young women of the local school and arrange for the kit deliveries. Education is a vital component of DfG. By taking classes to schools and community centers, Days for Girls seeks to shatter the shame and stigma associated with menstruation and will allow for the education that young women deserve to do better in the world.

All kits for distribution are sourced from locally owned and operated Days for Girls Enterprises. Sourcing DfG Kits locally TRIPLES our impact by reaching women and girls with DfG Kits, while elevating local leaders and supporting sustainable sewing co-ops.

You Can Help!

Every Days for Girls kit ordered by Soroptimist of Borrego Springs is distributed along with DfG’s health education course. This course is taught by trained, experienced local DfG Certified Health Instructors in Rwanda.

  • Women and girls learn how to safely use and care for their DFG washable pads, to prevent infection and care for the pads.
  • Women and girls will gain confidence in managing their menstruation so they don’t miss school or days of work.
  • Women and girls, as well as men and boys, will be empowered with knowledge about how their bodies work.

If you’d like to donate, visit our donation page, click the drop-down menu and choose “Days for Girls” to direct your donation to this program.

Soroptimist of Borrego Springs is a 501c3 non-profit so all your donations are tax deductible. We’ll be sharing Kathy’s journey as she travels to Rwanda so you can see your impact – stay tuned!

Soroptimist Secret Santa’s Deliver

Soroptimist Secret Santas

The Pandemic Didn't Keep Santa Claus from coming to Borrego Springs

This month, Santa’s Borrego friends collected and delivered big boxes of food and overflowing gift baskets, containing $100 in Soroptimist Secret Santa cash.

The Borrego Springs community responded generously to the $100 Soroptimist Secret Santa request, with enough funds to meet the goal of brightening Christmas for 18 families with cash and baskets of gifts and food for the families of women, who are primary providers for their families, and have lost jobs due to the pandemic, care for an elderly, or ill parent, and have children of their own.

Soroptimist Secret Santa Gift Basket

The women were identified by Borrego organizations, like the Borrego Ministers Association that have been assisting families, as families relying on charity, and the Borrego Food Bank to get through these challenging times.  Dubbed the “she-cession” by experts for the disproportionate impact the pandemic-led recession has had on housing, unemployment and childcare for working women. Women working heads of households, earning hourly wages have been the hardest hit by closures of restaurants, hotels, and other low paying jobs.  Last May, unemployment rates for women were up 1,368 percent over the previous year, making up 80 percent of all workers who have been dropped from the workforce.

An example of a family that received Secret Santa gifts is headed by a single mother, who is not able to work.  She has no family nearby; lost her car temporarily; has three young children, including one that is a year old, and is pregnant with another child on the way.

Soroptimist Secret Santa teams collected donations, packaged and wrapped baskets, and delivered to 18 homes, who like this example, are the primary wage earners, and facing difficult pandemic-related financial situations.  The Secret Santa gifts were supplemented with generous donation from the Food Bank.

“We couldn’t believe how quickly people responded with $100 Secret Santa donations. It was just a two-week campaign. Even though it’s a less than normal Christmas for everyone, people realized that for some the holidays were going to be harder than usual. Just goes to show how folks in Borrego respond to neighbors in need. A special thanks to the organizations and businesses that contributed. We are very grateful for everyone’s generosity."
Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs
Judy Stewart
Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs President
Soroptimist Secret Santas
Soroptimist Secret Santa Gift Basket

The collection point, Ellen Fitzpatrick’s Graphics You Can Trust storefront, in The Mall, was filled with donated items for the gift baskets such as 30 children’s Spanish and English reading books from the Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association (ABDNHA). 

Additional business donations included: $50 Frugal Coyote gift certificates from the Ministers Association; the Palms at Indian Head gave $10- gift certificates; packages of fudge from the Fudge Factory; the 18 baskets and Saran wrap came from the Frugal Coyote; Borrego Outfitters provided Olive oil and Jelly.  The baskets contained gifts from Borregans, like Beth Hart, who donated Beanie Bag toys.

Gifts from Soroptimist members, and other individuals included art supplies, stuffed animals, baked cookies, children’s toys, socks, masks, soap, toothpaste, sanitizers, and other household items.

“It was like magic. People kept popping in with money and gifts and, to help. In the very best tradition of giving, the store was totally brimming with Christmas spirit and love.”
Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs
Ellen Fitzpatrick
Soroptimist Member/ Owner of Graphics You Can Trust

According to Fitzpatrick, a “show stopper” was the big box of food, collected and contributed by the Food Bank supporters. “We want to thank Anne and Jim Wermers for the space in The Mall to store and package food, the Fredericks family, and all the volunteers for inspiring this ongoing community resource.”

In addition to the Food Bank’s usual selection of canned goods, eggs, tortillas, beans, and milk, there was a special holiday surprise – a large turkey, or ham in each box delivered with the Soroptimist Secret Santa cash and gift baskets.

According to one Soroptimist Secret Santa, the best part of the contribution campaign was delivering to the homes; witnessing the excitement of the children seeing the gift baskets, and the tearful gratitude of many moms.

Soroptimist Secret Santa

$100 Donation to go to neediest families

In our community, women, mothers and daughters are struggling as heads of households to provide for their families during the pandemic. Many clean houses or are working two or three jobs a day. Some women are raising young children on their own and cannot work.  For many, the virus has taken away employment women and other family members counted on. Now these women have the burden of placing food on the table. They may be taking care of elderly parents, who may be disabled or ill, as well as working and caring for their children, or younger brothers and sisters.

Neighbors helping neighbors

Borrego Springs charity organizations have joined together throughout the pandemic to meet requests for food, diapers, money for emergencies, back rent money, replacing an electric heater, car problems, broken windows, blankets, and other personal items the family can no longer afford.

you can help!

Now it’s Christmas. For these families, there will be no extra money for sharing the joys of giving and celebrating the holidays. A special Soroptimist Secret Santa donation of $100, in the spirit of neighbors helping neighbors, will bring some Christmas joy to each family selected.

Secret Santas can also send a check to P.O. Box 504, Borrego Springs, CA, 92004, or drop off at Graphics You Can Trust in The Mall, weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Please note on checks or cash “Soroptimist Secret Santa.”

Borrego Springs Face Mask Project: We Got You Covered

Started in March, the Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs’ Mask Project has been ongoing, through the heat of summer and now into fall and winter. Borrego Springs’ masks have been sewn by volunteers in Borrego Springs, Palomar Hospital Volunteer Circle, and as far away as Illinois! Masks are continually gathered and packaged for distribution through our eight town locations.

Residents and visitors alike have welcomed our displays and helped us collect more than $3,000 over the span of the endeavor. This project has been another example of how Soroptimist Ladies take on a challenge and pull through for the girls and women in their community. The masks have helped thousands, and the volunteers who purchase, sew, advertise, and distribute these masks have expressed the rewarding feeling that involvement gives them.

Jean Brugger busy sewing masks for Borrego Springs

Jean Brugger stops by Graphics You Can Trust to sew for a few hours on occasion. She says she finds it relaxing. Being a quilter, Jean saves every scrap of fabric after she cuts her mask patterns! She recently found a few attractive masculine fabrics she will incorporate into her larger masks now. Now that the heat has finally subsided, we have visitors coming to town, and as popular as motorcycle clubs are, we figure making some larger sizes will help cover our guest-riders. Jean has also supplied quite a few child-sized masks for our Halloween Trunk-or-Treat event at The Mall, where each child chose their own free mask.

As to a quote from Brugger, “I’m only here for a few months while my husband works an assignment with ABSDP, so when I saw the call for volunteers to sew, I was delighted to do my small part to help keep Borrego safe! I’ve been coming here with him for over 25 years and Borrego Springs and the surrounding desert have a very special place in my heart.”

Pammy Sherill at Desert Pantry Grocery Store

Pammy Sherrill, who works at Desert Pantry Grocery Store, is thankful for the Soroptimist Mask Display. When the pandemic started, customers would sometimes enter the store, having forgotten to bring a mask. Having a counter display offering masks to the public for a small donation, was, and continues to be, a great help keeping staff and customers safe.

Annmarie Tidwell participated in the volunteer sewing effort this summer, borrowing the Soroptimist loaner sewing machine, donated by Soroptimist Anne Wermers. Annmarie created countless two-ply cotton medical-style masks for distribution through our store displays around Borrego Springs.

“It gave me a sense of purpose that I haven’t had since I retired. I felt like I was contributing once again. It felt wonderful,” said Tidwell.

Soroptimists are sincerely grateful to those who have pitched in to make this project a success!  We want to keep our beloved residents and visitors safe and are thankful to those who are donating to our mission of providing education scholarships and mentoring to girls and women.

Soroptimists Have You Covered

Borrego Springs soroptimists have you covered

Beginning April 6, a COVID-19 Fact Sheet was composed by Soroptimist Linda Stanley, and designed with local logos and contacts by Ellen Fitzpatrick, both Borrego Springs Soroptimist members. These fact sheets were distributed ahead of the Borrego Springs COVID-19 Task Force information was eventually dispersed to all Borrego Springs P.O. Boxes.

Distributed along with the Fact Sheet were bandanas, initially purchased in batches by more Borrego Soroptimists, Gloria Gustine and Judy Stewart, for making DIY masks with hair ties. Bandanas proved to be very popular. (Honestly, the men like them just to wear like bandits.)

The Mask Displays were immediately accepted by Center Market and Desert Pantry grocery stores, so customers could comply with California mask requirements. Following them, Village Liquors & Market, Calico’s, Jilberto’s, Community Valley Bank, Red Ocotillo and Carlee’s all accepted a counter display for our Mask Project, and began collecting donations of $1 each. Customers were both enthusiastic and generous. Within two weeks, our public service project became a profitable ‘business’. At that time the mask committee could hardly keep the mask displays filled.

Local Borrego businesses, attempting to remain open during the quarantine, were critical to holding the line on social distancing and mask wearing. It’s fair to say that not all Californians were ready, able, or happy to suddenly be required to wear a mask.  Even today, three months later, masks are currently required on staff but “suggested” for customers in other part of California. The fact that Borrego businesses chose to make masks mandatory and recognize the particular risks that a tourist town faces is a credit to their own personal integrity and concern for the safety of their staff.

The Borrego Springs Soroptimists are grateful to be able to offer shoppers a mask should they not have one. Residents and visitors shopping here have supported the project wholeheartedly and continue to contribute generously and purchase masks at all the locations.

April 14, we received a donation of sewn medical masks from the Palomar Hospital Volunteer Sewers. We received 150 masks, followed by another 280 masks two weeks later. They disappeared overnight from our displays, as customers seemed to be buying multiples of the colorful, washable masks! Our distribution expanded out to West Shores at the Salton Sea, with donations of masks to Ocotillo Wells’ students in the school lunch program. BCHF Cottages and the Food Bank also received our masks free of charge.

Demand for masks Outstrips Supplies

Meanwhile, the supply could not keep up with demand, and bandanas became impossible to get. Our ‘business’ got creative and began cutting TEE shirts into rectangles with ear slots, which are amazingly comfortable! And, in fact, look nice with screen-printed logos. That led to Wild Heart Company Screenprinting’s Cristina Mitchell, who offered to print various business logos on the TEE masks, with the assistance of Graphics You Can Trust.

Frugal Coyote and the American Legion’s Bargain Barn contributed batches of used TEES and the project grew again. This opened up the opportunity for businesses to sponsor a TEE Mask, at $50 for 50 masks, and the Soroptimists receive the $1 donation when the masks are purchased. So far, more than 200 TEE Masks have been printed and distributed, with new orders now coming in from local mask sponsors.

On May 23, 500 more medical masks from Palomar came to Borrego. Here we are in June and it looks like mask requirements will continue through summer, so we will keep up the cutting, printing and bagging three types of masks for the shopping community.

the Latest Update

As of May 20, the Mask Project has brought in more than $1300 in donations, and production presses on.

Please donate! Support Women Helping Women.

Wear a mask. And be safe out there!

Marching For Local Women and Girls

Soroptimists and "S" Club members marching in the Borrego Days Parade
“S” Club and Soroptimist members marching at Borrego Days in 2017

For the second year in a row, the members of Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs and the Borrego Springs High School “S” Club, a teen action-oriented volunteer club, are teaming up to march for women and girls in the community of Borrego Springs and throughout the world. Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs is a volunteer organization that assists women and girls to “Live Their Dreams” through education scholarships, career workshops and mentoring opportunities. “S” Clubs are considered an outreach program of the Soroptimist organization, and a vital way for high school students to learn about serving others and helping their communities both near and far.

This month, the Borrego Springs High School “S” Club selected their second major fundraising opportunity: helping fund the new Borrego Springs Library. The “S” Club will be raising awareness for library funding and hoping to raise their goal of $1,000 at their Borrego Days booth.

Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs also has an important cause: they will be collecting gift cards, unopened personal hygiene items, baby supplies and gently-worn or new clothing for survivors of sex trafficking in San Diego County. The drive is part of a larger call to action in partnership with STAT! (Soroptimists Together Against Trafficking), where women of Soroptimist International join together to raise awareness of sex trafficking and support the survivors in our county. You can drop off any of the listed items at the Soroptimist booth at Borrego Days, October 20 and 21.

“We love that both Soroptimist and our ‘S’ Club are raising awareness for organizations who make a difference in the lives of women and girls, right here in San Diego County,” says Judy Stewart, President of Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs. “We ask that all festival attendees stop by our booths and learn how they can make a difference, right here at home!”

Dream It Be It Logo

Dream It, Be It Career Day

First-of-Kind Girls’ Career Day Comes to Borrego Springs

Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs members know, “if you can dream it, you can do it!” The local volunteer club has created a career day focused on inspiring Borrego Springs High School girls to dream big, then empowering them to follow that dream.

The Dream It, Be It Career Day features eight amazing women speakers, in a myriad of careers, to share their life stories in diverse career paths. Julia Anguiano, who graduated from Borrego Springs High school, is day’s keynote speaker. Julia, recently chosen as the Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs’ 2018 Live Your Dream winner, and awarded a $1000 scholarship, will soon complete her degree at the University of San Francisco.

Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls helps girls grow up to be strong, successful, happy adults. Dream It, Be It targets girls in secondary school who face obstacles to their future success. It provides girls with access to professional role models, career education and the resources to live their dreams.

The career day will take place at the Senior Center on Saturday, April 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Lunch will be provided by local Kendall’s restaurant and the club is grateful to the Senior Center for donating their building to accommodate this important and groundbreaking day.

Please see Martha Deichler at the school district office to receive a registration packet. All Borrego Springs High School girls are encouraged to attend.

Wireless Transmission Technology - Women Inventions

10 Things You Didn’t Know Women Invented

International Women’s Day is March 8, so Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs member, Anne W., did a little research to share and celebrate women inventors and inventions by women!

Here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know Women Invented!

1. Monoply

Monopoly - Women Inventions

Monopoly was originally invented to expose injustice

This popular board game was designed by Elizabeth Maggie in 1904, originally called the Landlord’s Game. The purpose of this game was to expose the injustices of unchecked capitalism.

Her game was ripped off by Charles Darrow who sold it to Parker Brother’s 30 years later. However, Parker Brothers later paid Elizabeth $500 for her game.

2. The Car Heater

The Car Heater - Women Inventions

Brrrr! Thanks for keeping our hands warm on those chilly mornings!

Cold hands, warm hearts, though! We all owe our thanks to Margaret A. Wilcox who invented the car heater in 1893! Margaret also invented a combined clothes and dishwasher.

3. The Life Raft

The Life Raft - Women Inventions

The lifesaving Life Raft was invented by Maria Beasely in 1882

The lifesaving Life Raft was invented by Maria Beasely in 1882. Maria also invented a machine that makes barrels, as well.

4. Residental Solar Heating

Residential Solar Heating - Women Inventions

Solar heating for residential housing was invented by Dr. Maria Telkes in 1947

Solar heating for residential housing was invented by Dr. Maria Telkes in 1947. Dr. Telkes was a Psychiatrist in addition to being a  Solar-Power Pioneer.

5. The Computer Algorithm

The Computer Algorithm - Women Inventions

Her ideas and notes were an essential key to helping Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940’s

Ada Lovelace is essentially the first computer programmer due to her work with Charles Babbage at the University of London in 1842.  In fact, her ideas and notes were an essential key to helping Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940’s. His work is now being recognized as one of the critical programs that helped the world defeat Hitler and the Nazi’s.

6. Wireless Transmission Technology

Wireless Transmission Technology - Women Inventions

Yes, this means Wi-Fi!

Hedy Lamarr, a world famous film star, invented a secret communications system during World War II for radio-controlling torpedoes. This technology also paved the way for everything from GPS to even the Wi-Fi you are probably using right now!

7. Closed-Circuit Television Security (CCTV)

Closed Circuit TV - Women Inventions

Ms. Brown’s invention was created in response of the lack of assistance of police officers in 1969 to help people ensure their own security

Marie Van Brittan Brown invented CCTV because of the slow response of police officers in 1969 to help people ensure their own security.  This invention influenced modern CCTV systems used for home security and police work today.

8. Kevlar

Kevlar - Women Inventions

Five times stronger than steel!

This life-saving material was invented by Stephanie Kwolek, in 1965. It is five times stronger than steel and used to make bulletproof vests.

9. The First User-Friendly Software Ever

Computer Software - Women Inventions

Also coined the term “bug”, in reference to a glitch in a computer system

Dr. Grace Murray Hopper was a computer scientist that invented COBOL which is the first user-friendly business computer software system in the 1940’s.

She was also a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and the first person to use the term “bug” in reference to a glitch in a computer system when she literally found a bug (moth) causing problems with her computer!

10. Telecommunications Technology

Telecommunications Technology - Women Inventions

So now go call your mother…

Some of the Telecommunication Technology developed by Dr. Shirley Jackson include: the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.

Surprised? Not surprised? Comment below or on our Facebook page with your thoughts!