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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Homemakers at Risk in Retirement

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Homemakers aren’t planning for retirement, and they’re extremely vulnerable to running out of money and ending their lives in poverty. They’re also not as optimistic about retirement as workers and retirees.

Those are the not-so-cheery findings of a report from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, which found that homemakers are not in a good position when it comes to retirement—either globally or within the U.S.

The report “Homemakers Are Not Off the Hook: How Should They Be Planning for Retirement?” found that homemakers, 81% of whom in the U.S. are women, are far less likely to believe they should be taking an active role in ensuring that they have enough money to live on during retirement. U.S. homemakers, at 40%, are more likely to feel “very” responsible for doing so; globally the number is lower, with just 32% of homemakers feeling “very” responsible.

Now here’s the really scary thing: not even half of homemakers are actually saving for retirement.

Globally the percentage is higher than here at home; while 47% of homemakers across the world are saving, just 44% of those in the U.S. are. (And they’re the ones who feel “very” responsible at a higher rate than those globally!)

In addition, less than a third, no matter how you slice it (29% globally, 30% in the U.S.) consider themselves to be “habitual savers” who always make sure that they’re putting money away.

Not surprisingly, survey results indicated that habitual savers are better prepared than those who don’t make it a practice.

Fifty-one percent of homemakers, both globally and in the U.S., have no retirement strategy, whether anything is written down or it’s just carried around in their heads. Even fewer have actually gotten some sort of plan down on paper: 11% globally, 8% U.S.

Yet homemakers are among the most vulnerable. According to the report, “When someone becomes a homemaker, she or he may never return to full-time paid employment, but instead may intermittently pursue employment on a part-time or contract basis, or may give up employment altogether.

“Homemakers’ unpaid duties exist outside of the formal labor market which, in many countries, is the most common avenue to accruing government and employer benets and saving for retirement. Homemakers who are employed part-time often nd themselves without access to employer-sponsored retirement benets….”

And all it might take is the death of a spouse, or a divorce, to wreck whatever retirement plans a homemaker may have had.

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