A report released in 2020 by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) finds that across all age groups women have substantially less income in retirement than men (National Institute on Retirement Security, NIRS 2020). By age 65, 80% of women are more likely than men to live in poverty. Women age 75 to 79 were three times more likely to fall below the poverty level than men.
Here are some of the many factors creating the problems women are facing compared to men in successfully planning for retirement:
Women are more likely to stop working to take care of family members, resulting in lower lifetime savings rates due to fewer years of generating income. According to the 2020 US Census, 7 million adults said they weren’t working because they were home caring for children who were not in school or daycare. These breaks then also impact their overall salary gains, earning potential and results in them making less money during their working years in total.
Women are more likely to work part-time in jobs with no benefits, including retirement accounts. This results in lower lifetime savings rates due to fewer years of generating income. A Transamerica study from 2019 showed that 67% of women work part-time compared to only 33% of men.
Women live longer than men on average. A woman retiring at age 65 can expect to live another 20 years – about 2 years longer than a man’s life expectancy (US Dept of Labor/DOL). However, the 2019 Transamerica study found women estimate their retirement saving needs to be less than what men estimate they will need (59% of men estimate more than $500k vs. 51% of women).
Only 46% of working women participated in a retirement plan (DOL), a plan that allows you to earn interest and compounded growth on your money over time.
Women tend to invest more conservatively than men, potentially causing them to lose out on growth opportunities needed to make their money last through their longer retirement years.
Even though the household incomes of individuals age 65 and older has increased in recent years, women have 17% less income than men during these years (NIRS 2020).
Of the women who are offered a 401k or similar plan, only 73% participate, versus 81% for men. And men contribute higher percentages of their income than women. (Transamerica 2019).
Additionally, 71% of women are less likely to be confident in their ability to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle, compared to only 62% of men (Transamerica 2019).
If forced into an early retirement situation, or if your retirement benefits are being exhausted too quickly in retirement, consider cost-cutting changes such as moving in with a relative, downsizing your home, or even taking a roommate to help you defray your costs.
Most of us cannot possibly save enough for a comfortable retirement without obtaining growth on our assets, especially considering the negative impact of inflation and taxes. Make sure your retirement plan is one that provides you with an increased probability of obtaining long term growth to increase your odds of achieving your retirement goals.
If you are a woman wanting to review your retirement future – whether on your own or as part of a couple, please contact our office at 770.931.1414 to schedule a no-cost appointment. We are here to help, and I’ve been helping women plan for a better future for more than 30 years!
Roger S. Green is an Investment Advisor Representative, offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisors LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor and broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. His office is located at 3700 Crestwood Parkway, Ste 140, Duluth, GA 30096. Green Financial and Cetera Advisors are not affiliated.
Think now in terms of planning for “worst case scenarios,” such as divorce or the early death of a spouse. ~ Roger S. Green