NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Judy Wallace has thought about retirement her entire adult life.

"I have savings in my 401(k) plan, but I'm trying to incorporate a different structure that's more focused on building and selling my business, retiring and living off the profit of the sale," Wallace told MainStreet.

Just three years ago, the single mother of a teenager used a calculator to figure out just how much money she will need to retire.

"In the past, I've contributed between $200 and $400 a month depending on my income, but because I am starting up a new business right now, I haven't created anything lately," said Wallace.

Wallace is among the 53% of women who expect to self-fund their retirement through 401(k) plans or other savings and investments.

"Retirement is something I know I need to consider but I don't worry about it," Wallace said.

The majority of women who estimate their financial need in retirement are guessing rather than using a calculator or advisor, according to a new study.

"In the United States, women can take greater control of their financial futures with small steps today that can ultimately lead to a giant leap in terms of their long-term retirement readiness," said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS).

The 14th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers found that 43% of women expect to work past age 70 or do not plan to retire at all, 52% plan to work after they retire and 65% of Baby Boomer women do not have a backup plan if forced into retirement sooner than expected.

"How each woman ultimately plans on spending her retirement is unique but the tools to help attain retirement readiness are common to all," said Collinson.

One aspect of a secure retirement is an income stream that is inflation protected, which can be assisted by investments in stocks that pay dividends. "Without an inflation-protected income stream, your lifestyle will decline along with the buying power of your investment income," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst with Bankrate.

Recent Bankrate analysis found that a portfolio tilted toward the Dividend Aristocrats Index beat the competition. Stocks held in the Dividend Aristocrats Index are defined as having raised dividends each year for the past 25 years.

"The important takeaway for investors of all ages is the power of compounding all those dividends," McBride told MainStreet. "Do not ignore the slower growing, stodgier companies that pay dividends and routinely increase their dividends. Those payouts are a critical component of an investor's overall return."

The ING Global Target Payment Fund (IGPAX) provides a level payment stream even during times when interest rates and stock prices move down considerably.