Park_wide.JPGThere is no one overall vision of retirement that everyone holds, because people's post-career years are based on a number of different factors. However, it can be said that, in general, men and women have very different visions of retirement, and the planning that goes into it.

Some studies have recently shown that men are generally more prepared for retirement financially than are women, and that they are, therefore, more optimistic about their post-career years. This may be because women are more likely to leave the workforce at some point in their lives for various reasons, such as staying at home with their children.

However, at the same time, women are more willing to discuss the various aspects of their finances and efforts to save money for retirement than are men, and some think this might be the result of stay-at-home moms being more accustomed to dealing with family finances on a regular basis. Another potential contributing factor is that because women generally outlive their spouses, they feel more of a financial responsibility that they'll need to pass on to their family members.

Interestingly, recent studies also suggest that while men are more financially secure, they are freer with their money when it comes to helping out grown children. Men are generally more willing to help their kids finance purchases, subsidize insurance payments and provide other types of support, potentially as a result of men simply having the financial wherewithal to give that kind of assistance. Such efforts should also come with discussions about the importance of dealing with finances on one's own, and only after careful consideration of how helping adult kids out financially will affect one's own efforts to save for retirement.

Regardless of your gender, if you run into difficulties meeting your retirement savings goals you will likely benefit from taking a few extra years to either keep working or delaying the point at which you start drawing from your retirement benefits. By doing either of these things, you will have more money to draw upon for shorter periods, increasing the annual value of the payouts you receive from programs such as Social Security. The same tactic can also be applied to your personal savings.