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Women's History Month: Women and Retirement Thumbnail

Women's History Month: Women and Retirement

Women's History Month is the perfect time for us to reflect on the women who have been influential on our lives as well as the unique landscape of retirement planning for women. Women face different considerations when planning for retirement than men, so let’s look at what women should consider when retirement or the next stage in life is on the horizon. 

Considerations for Women When Planning for Retirement

Women face unique challenges when planning for retirement, such as:

Women generally live longer than men.1 While longer life expectancy is undoubtedly a positive aspect of women's health, it presents a unique challenge when it comes to retirement planning. A longer life span means that women are more likely to outlive their savings, making it imperative for them to plan for a lengthier retirement period.

Career Interruptions
Women often face career interruptions due to family responsibilities, such as childcare, the declining health of a spouse, or caring for elderly parents. These interruptions can result in lower lifetime earnings and diminished opportunities to contribute to retirement savings. The gender pay gap exacerbates this issue, as women earn less on average than their male counterparts, leaving them with less investment income for retirement funds.2

Part-Time Employment
Many women opt for part-time employment to balance work and family commitments. While this choice may provide flexibility, it often comes at the cost of reduced access to employer-sponsored retirement benefits. Part-time workers may not have access to the same retirement plans, and even if they do, their contributions may be lower.

Economic Challenges
Women may face economic challenges, particularly in later life. Divorce, widowhood, or the choice to remain single can leave women financially vulnerable in retirement.

Addressing the Challenges

Understanding the unique challenges women face in retirement planning is a crucial step toward implementing effective solutions. Here are some strategies to help women successfully plan for retirement:

Early and Informed Planning
Education is key. Encouraging women to start planning for retirement early and providing them with accessible information on financial literacy can empower them to make informed decisions about their savings and investments.  By improving their knowledge and how various retirement planning concepts apply to them specifically, women may find that they are more comfortable and more proactive in making financial decisions. 

Closing the Gender Pay Gap
Advocacy for equal pay remains a critical component of narrowing the gender retirement gap. Closing the pay gap ensures that women have more disposable income to invest in retirement accounts as well as other financial strategies that ultimately boost their financial security later on.

Flexible Work Arrangements
Employers can contribute to closing the retirement gap by offering flexible work arrangements that accommodate women's career interruptions without penalizing their retirement benefits. Additionally, promoting workplace policies that support work-life balance can aid women in maintaining consistent employment and income.

Social Security Optimization
Understanding the nuances of Social Security benefits is crucial for women. Optimizing claiming strategies, considering spousal benefits, and being aware of survivor benefits can help women maximize their Social Security income during retirement.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, let’s recognize both the achievements of women throughout history, as well as the ongoing challenges they face. By raising awareness, promoting financial literacy, and advocating for policy changes, we can work towards creating equal retirement for all.

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  1. https://time.com/6334873/u-s-life-expectancy-gender-gap/
  2. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/03/01/gender-pay-gap-facts

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.