Females account for a disproportionately large percentage of retirees in the U.S., and they bear a disproportionate amount of the burdens that people carry as they age.
Social Security is one area in particular where women are at a big disadvantage. Not only do they earn less than men, but they also take extended time off from work to care for their children or other family members in need of help. In total, women rake up an average of 12 years out of the labor force. This hurts them in retirement years because Social Security calculates benefits in part on the amount of time spent in the workforce.
Making matters worse, women are more likely to work part-time for the same reasons listed above. Furthermore, they are more likely to reject promotions or senior level positions that require significant travel and long office hours. This often results in limited access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Add it all together, and it creates significant hurdles for saving for retirement.
Divorce is another major factor that adds to the hardships of female retirees. Divorce rates among older Americans is rising faster than those in any other age group. Divorced women might lose out on their husbands’ retirement plans.
According to various studies, women often find themselves alone as retirees. It is estimated that there are 6 million more woman than men living above the age of 65. Thus, for most women, widowhood is inevitable. Once the husband is deceased, the widow loses his Social Security benefits, and may have to endure health problems alone.
DML will be covering this topic on Tuesday’s Walk & Talk. He will be offering solutions and stories of encouragement.
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