“Americans—women especially—aren’t getting the message that they need to start saving for retirement with their very first job,” says personal finance columnist Liz Weston, author of Deal With Your Debt.

As a working mom, whole weeks may go by without the chance to sit down or even think. You’re managing a career, making decisions for your family, and caring for kids and often parents, too.

It’s not easy, then, to hear about one more job that needs your immediate attention: retirement planning. But let’s just be blunt, women are almost twice as likely as men to wind up living below the poverty line during retirement.

Here are six tips to help you prepare for retirement:

1. Budget Carefully

The cost of everyday things can make saving difficult. You may need to budget to meet some goals. A simple start: track daily spending with a spreadsheet or pencil and paper.

2. Save for Retirement

Retirement savings should be one of your top priorities. If you think you can’t find the money, tell yourself you can’t afford not to. “For women it’s critical because we are more likely to outlive our partners,” Weston says. “Falling behind early on is even worse for us I think, because we have to make that money last so much longer.” Women’s tendency to care for others first “can compromise their families’ futures,” concludes Prudential’s Women & Money poll, a survey of women aged 25 to 65 in all income brackets. Putting children’s education first now could cause you to jeopardize their financial well-being if you have to depend on them when you are older.

3. Keep Hands off Savings

You may be tempted to break into your nest egg. Don’t do it. Let time, the great fertilizer of money, grow your funds.

4. Negotiate for a Raise

You’ll need to boost your earnings with regular raises. For women, that can be a tricky process, says this New York Times article about navigating gender stereotypes to get ahead at work. Prepare yourself by:

  • Collecting metrics showing the value of work you’ve done.
  • Keeping track of positive feedback.
  • Researching salaries and negotiation tactics.

5. Upgrade Your Skills

If you’re earning too little, you may need more training or to enter another line of work. Before leaping, research costs and benefits, salaries, job availability, and prospects for advancement. Don’t be afraid to seek jobs that pay more.

6. Become an Investor

Women’s fear of financial matters often undermines their success. Ironically, research shows they may be better at investing than men, according to The Washington Post. Be involved in managing your money. Learn all you can about sensible risk taking and investing. Interview many financial advisors until you find one who makes you comfortable.

Contact a financial advisor today.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which course of action may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor.

Liz Weston is not affiliated with LPL Financial. This material has been prepared by LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, member FINRA/SIPC.

To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor, please note that LPL Financial is not an affiliate of and makes no representation with respect to such entity.

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