Purely as a result of gender, women bear some financial burdens to a greater degree than men. Specifically, here are the burdens they face:
U.S. women currently are living 4.8 years longer than men from birth, according to the Social Security Administration. At age 65, a female has a 32.6 percent probability of living at least to age 90, compared to a 21.2 percent probability for a male of the same age.
This longevity advantage means that women bear the burden of having to plan for longer retirements. Most married women need to plan for the possibility of outliving a spouse and having to make financial decisions alone at some point.
Due to a combination of lower historic wages and time taken off from work to raise children, today’s retired women qualify for lower Social Security retirement benefits on average than men. In 2015, the average annual benefit received by women age 65 or older was $13,500, compared to $17,600 for men.
Several studies have indicated that women are more likely than men to become responsible for the financial, emotional and medical care of elderly parents or their own spouses. Women are more likely to be single, widowed or divorced and live alone at older ages. Elderly women who lack a care-giving companion have a greater probability of spending part of their old age in a nursing home.
Given these realities, it’s a good idea to tailor retirement planning education and communications for women’s special needs.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Offer to help employed women evaluate their retirement plans at work, and focus on maximizing the rate of savings (including employer contributions) in addition to the rate of investment earnings.