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Many Women Face Tough Retirement, Study Finds

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A new study shows women in general are looking at a far lower living standard in retirement than are men.[@@]

The median salary for women working full-time in 2003 was $30,734, vs. $40,668 for men. That works out to a typical woman earning roughly $523,000 less than the typical man over a lifetime, according to the study by Americans for Secure Retirement, Washington.

Coupled with the fact women spend less time working than men, they have a smaller amount of accumulated Social Security and retirement plan benefits, the ASR report points out.

The median income of women aged 65 to 74 was $12,143, compared to $23,161 for men. In 2002, women aged 65 and older had a median asset income of only $1,028 a year, or around $86 per month.

The percentage of women aged 75 to 84 living in poverty in 2003 was 13.5%, compared with 7.4% for men, the study notes.

Just 44% of working women participated in a pension plan in 2002. The average Social Security payment for retired women in 2002 was $774 per month, vs. $1,006 for men, according to ASR.

Social Security, which replaces only about 42% of an average retiree’s pre-retirement income, is the only source of income for 25% of unmarried women, the group notes.

Results of the ASR study were released by Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, who cited its results to back up her cosponsorship of legislation advancing annuities as a source of lifetime income for retirees.

The legislation, the Retirement Security for Life Act (H.R. 819 and S. 381) is also sponsored by Reps. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn.; Phil English, R-Pa.; and John Tanner, D-Tenn.; as well as Sens. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Olympia Snowe, R-Maine; and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

Americans for Secure Retirement is a coalition of trade groups and other organizations, including the American Council of Life Insurers, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the National Association of Variable Annuities.