Retirement Concerns Show Uneven Playing Field for Women

Although many older Americans are concerned about health care costs in retirement and outliving their savings, women are even more so, due in part to earning less than men throughout their careers, according to the National Council on Aging.

Fifty-six percent of Americans age 60 and older are concerned that health care costs will outpace their retirement savings, and 43% think the same of prescription drug costs, a National Council on Aging (NCOA)/Ipsos survey found.

Women are even more concerned than men, with 60% worried about the rising costs of health care and 46% worried about prescription drug costs. Sixty-eight percent of Americans age 60 and older with household incomes of less than $50,000 are worried.

Fifty-one percent of women in this age group are worried about outliving their savings, outpacing the 48% of Americans, overall, who share this same fear. Among those with household incomes of less than $50,000, 61% are worried about outliving their savings.

Fifty-nine percent of women age 60 and older are worried about losing their independence, whereas this is true for 54% of Americans overall. Additionally, 46% of Americans in this age group are worried about being a burden to their families. Among women, 52% share this fear, whereas only 40% of men share this fear.

“Results underscore the reality of an uneven playing field for women in the American economy and the economic opportunity cost after years as mothers and caregivers and not wage-earners. However, the ever-rising cost of health care and prescription drugs are a real and imminent threat to a safe, secure, and dignified retirement for aging adults across the country regardless of gender,” says Anna Maria Chavez, NCOA executive vice president and chief growth officer. “After careers of earning less than their male counterparts, women are more likely to face financial insecurity, and this survey shows widespread concern among women, far more than men.”

The findings are based on an online Ipsos poll conducted among 1,227 adults in May and June.