Report: Boomer Women Face Most Dire Retirement Situation

May 24, 2006 ( - A report from the Harvard Generations Policy Program in conjunction with the Global Generations Policy Institute suggests that baby boomer women, especially minority women, will face a 'never-ending' struggle in their retirement years.

According to the report, boomer women face a situation worse than women in prior years, as they spend more, acquire more debt, and are less likely to have traditional pensions, spousal benefits, or retiree health coverage. The savings of boomer women is smaller than men’s, but women face a longer life span.

The report suggests that, though the majority of older Americans are women, policymakers have ignored their special needs. More boomer women will face retirement divorced or never married and the social security system rewards old-fashioned families with the bread-winner husband and homemaker wife the best, the report says.

Additionally, social security and pensions work best for those with stable career employment, and many boomer women have gaps in their careers from caring for children or ailing family members.

If differences in poverty rates by sex, marital status and race continue, overall poverty rates among aging boomer women will considerably increase among future boomer retirees, the report suggests. Compared with male retirees, boomer women will have lower wealth and incomes, higher poverty rates, and a larger number whose incomes are below 45% of the average national wage. According to the report, from 2020 to 2030, when older boomer women will be 64 to 74, they are projected to face an income shortfall of at least $400 billion dollars.

Realizing their plight, boomer women plan on a working-retirement. However, the report said about 50% of all women are and will be working in low-paying jobs without pensions or an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan of any kind. Earnings for full-time working women is still about 76% of what men earn.

For more on the report, “Baby Boomer Women: Secure Futures or Not,” go to .