While certain financial issues are the same for everyone - stick to a budget, save for retirement, consider your long-term care needs - there are some things that, like it or not, women need to think about more than men.

That's true of retirement planning, as well. When it comesto planning for retirement, women and men face a lot of the same challenges. Simply making sure they have enough money is at the top of the list; ensuring they'll be able topay for any medical or long-term care needs is a close second.

But just like women have to deal with certain issues specific to their gender throughout their adult lives, the same is true once they reach their golden years. Just look at the Netflix show Grace and Frankie, about two women in their 70s whose husbands leave them. Suddenly, they're dealing with splitting up finances, living independently of their husbands, and even considering going back to the workforce.

Even without an occurrenceas life-changing as divorce, women who are heading into their retirement years may want to take a close look at their financial situation to make sure that they will be provided for, regardless of their partners. Here are a few of the steps Baby Boomer women can take to move toward a secure retirement.

If you didn't begin planning early, start today


Women tend to be more focused on taking care of their families' current needs than planning for their own futures, which is why it can be helpful to begin the retirement planning process as early as possible.

However, if you're among the many women who did not start saving for retirement in their 20s or 30s, you can still do something about it by starting right away.

That way, you'll not only maximize the amount of time you have to save—you'll also have more time to balance your future needs with those of children, elderly parents, or a spouse.

In addition, women are more likely to enter retirement in order to take care of another family member or spouse. This means that retirement could come earlier than you originally planned.

Plan for longer life expectancy.

In general, women live longer than men do. You'll need to factor that in when figuring out how much money you'll need to live comfortably in retirement.According to Forbes, most people—women and men—plan for too few years, but for women, the longer life expectancy can make that gap even larger. Compound this with the fact that women still earn just 78 cents on the dollar compared to men, and you'll see that retirement planning is nothing to put off.

Gain control of your finances now


According to a PBS Newshour article, most women will find themselves single at some point after age 65, whether from death of a spouse or divorce. That means that most older women will likely have to take care of themselves financially, without a partner to lean on. It's vital to be an active participant in your family's finances today. That way, if the time comes when you do find yourself alone, you'll be prepared to navigate those financial waters without floundering.

If you're considering leaving the workforce to become a caregiver, think carefully about the long-term consequences of that decision


As mentioned earlier, women are much more likely to retire in order to assume a caregiving role. While it's a very difficult decision to make under the best circumstances, it's important to consider the potential negative impact on your own and your family's financial future as you enter your later years.

Leaving the workforce to care full-time for a family member can result in a huge loss of lifetime wealth. That, in turn, can mean that you're more likely to bedependent on your children as you age—and that's something that no parent wants. Perhaps there areother care options that you should consider, like long-term care at home.

Paying for long-term care is, of course, a big consideration. Sometimes a life settlement can be a solution.

Women facing retirement have specific issues they need to consider in order to make sure they have a secure financial future ahead of them. If you think a life settlement may be part of your retirement planning,ask your financial advisor to contact Ashar today.