Steve Norwitz and Jessica, his daughter, at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, Aug. 20, 2015. Norwitz made arrangements with his employer, T. Rowe Price, to ease his way into retirement over several years. With help from accommodating employers, many would-be retirees are electing to “phase” themselves out of the work force with gradual departures. (JR Delia/The New York Times) ORG XMIT: XNYT10


Corliss Fanjoy is turning 65 this year, but she is not ready for retirement. And at a small handbag maker in Maine, where Fanjoy spends her working hours cutting intricate patterns in leather, she is not alone.

Most of her co-workers are over 55. One of them is her boss, Susan Nordman, 60, who bought the then-struggling company, Erda, based in Dexter, in 2013. She inherited a mostly older workforce; Nordman was determined to keep those workers on the job.

#x201c;Preserving critical knowledge is vital to the longevity of any business,#x201d; she said. #x201c;The skills that my employees possess require hands-on learning. With time and training, new workers can learn these skills, but only if someone is there to teach them.

Heres the good news for women in or approaching retirement: Women tend to outlive men, which means that, if youre of the female persuasion, you probably have a few extra years of Bingo nights and mahjong tournaments to look forward to. The bad news, however, is that if youre a woman, youre more likely to struggle financially in retirement than a similarly situated male.

The National Center for Women and Retirement Research reports that as many as nine out of 10 women will become solely responsible for their finances at some point in life. But with so many women coming into retirement at a huge disadvantage, keeping up with costs can be a significant challenge.

Why women struggle to save
Its common knowledge that women, on average, earn only $0.77 for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, which puts them at an automatic handicap when it comes to savings. According to a survey by the Society of Actuaries and the Womens Institute for a Secure Retirement, women tend to have less savings than men overall.

Women also tend to rely more heavily on Social Security benefits for retirement income than males. Worse yet, women are less likely to work at companies offering sponsored retirement plans, which means they have fewer opportunities to take advantage of tax-deferred savings.

Additionally, though men and women tend to retire around the same age, women often enter retirement with fewer full-time working years under their belts. Only 26% of female retirees say theyve worked full-time for at least 40 years, while 45% of male retirees have put in 40 years or more in the workforce.

And while stay-at-home fatherhood is slowly becoming less of a trend and more of a social fact of life, women are still more likely to take time off from their careers to provide full-time care for their children. Of course, less time spent in the working world translates to fewer pension and Social Security benefits, which can be a huge blow during retirement in the absence of a remarkable 401(k) or IRA balance.

At least women have their priorities straight
Theres a silver lining to all of this: When it comes to sound retirement planning, women are actually doing a much better job than men. In fact, women are more likely than men to take advantage of their employers retirement plans.

According to Vanguards How America Saves 2015 report, in 2014, 81% of women earning $50,000 to $74,999 participated in employer-sponsored plans, whereas only 62% of men in a similar income range did the same. And among those earning $100,000 or more, 91% of women participated in employer retirement plans, as compared to just 87% of men. In fact, women outsave men across all income levels.

Fidelity Investments also reports that women tend to make better investment decisions than men. Women are more likely to do their research, ask professionals for help, and stick to an investing plan. A study by Fidelity confirms that 43% of women feel they havent made any financial mistakes, whereas only 33% of men make similar claims. Furthermore, women tend to have more balanced portfolios than men and, most impressively, manage to secure a more favorable rate of return than men while limiting their exposure to risk.

Its also clear that women, as a whole, have some pretty solid money-management skills. Fidelity reports that many women make most of the financial decisions in their households and are more comfortable discussing finances with their adult children than their husbands are.

Getting women on track
Having less money in retirement is a major concern for women. For many, longer life expectancies can mean extended periods of widowhood and a resulting decline in their standard of living. Those who outlive their spouses run the risk of depleting their financial resources so that by the time they need their own care, theyre unable to fund it. These days, a couple retiring at age 65 can expect to spend $220,000, on average, for healthcare costs in retirement -- and that doesnt even include long-term care expenditures, such as assisted-living facilities or nursing homes.

But its not all bleak. As a woman, you can make several moves to avoid being cash-strapped during retirement, the most essential of which is to begin saving early. If youre eligible for an employer-sponsored retirement plan, participate, and be sure to take advantage of whatever matching incentives your company offers.

Next, get aggressive if time is on your side. Weve already learned that women excel at doing their research. Consider a riskier blend of investments to generate a higher return. This will help your portfolio grow faster over time, especially given that your earliest retirement-savings contributions will likely be the smallest. Finally, be sure to take advantage of catch-up 401(k) or IRA contributions if youre closer to retirement and have the means to ramp up your tax-deferred savings.

Of course, theres also the option of postponing retirement until your finances paint a prettier picture. Working even one extra year could help bridge the gap between the amount youll need to live comfortably and the potentially disappointing figure youre currently looking at.

Veteran defensemen Keith Ballard and Jordan Leopold have likely played their final NHL game, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.

A concussion limited Ballard to just 14 games last season. The 32-year-old was the recipient of a Matt Martin hit on Dec. 9, which sent him to hospital. Ballard, who recorded one assist and a minus-3 rating while averaging 12:03 in ice time, is still not 100 percent nearly nine months later.

"I'm just trying to get healthy," Ballard said. "If I make a full recovery from this one, I'll chalk it up to good luck. But I admit, if I'm hit like this again, I'm a little freaked out about what would happen the next time."

Ballard's two-year, $3 million contract expired in July and he remains an unrestricted free agent. The Minnesota native appeared in 604 career NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks and Wild.

Leopold, a fellow unrestricted free agent, doesn't have his agent making calls to teams.

Leopold, who was dealt by the Blue Jackets to the Wild in March at the request of his daughter, appeared in 18 games with Minnesota last season registering one assist and a plus-1 rating while averaging 13:19 a night in ice time.

Russo reports that Leopold and his wife are in the process of opening an events and wedding center on the Bluffs of the Mississippi.

Neither player has formally announced their retirement.

Related: It's Minnesota Wild day at PHT

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You know whats a great job? Terrorism.

If youre not one of the suckers outfitted with a bomb vest, but one of the bureaucrats processing Bomb Vest Requisition Form 109b. The PLOs Palestinian Authority has a huge number of employees. Its really the number one employer, followed by the UN and a bunch of other non-profits that we also fund one way or another.

So its cutting down on some of them by making them retire with half their salary... minus the part where they have to work. And youll be paying for it out of a job much less glamorous than a career in international terrorism.

Bassam Zakarneh, president of the Public Sector Employees Union, told local Radio 4 on Aug. 12 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) Cabinet had submitted a proposal to President Mahmoud Abbas on Aug. 4 to amend current laws to release 70,000 employees as part of an early retirement scheme. The changes stipulate mandatory early retirement for those employees who have served 15 years or more and are over 50 years of age.

Zakarneh said the plan was designed to decrease current expenditures by reducing the number of PA employees in Gaza and the West Bank from 150,000 to 80,000 and had been prepared in cooperation with the World Bank... Retired employees would be paid between 50% and 56% of their monthly wage.

Yes, the PLOs PA has 150,000 employees which gives us a ratio of about 1 employee to 10 people... since the PLO doesnt control Gaza, despite paying employees there anyway.

Instead of just firing them, its going to begin paying them half their salaries without requiring them to actually work, because this is a terrorist welfare state.

Not that theyre working now...

The plan follows on the European Union's April 30 announcement that it would no longer provide financial assistant to pay government employee salaries in Gaza if they continued to fail to report to work, which has been a problem since 2007.

After 8 years, the EU will finally stop contributing money to pay people who havent been reporting to work since 2007.

Isnt austerity terrible?