Women Face Retirement Woes

June 24, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Not only are older women twice as likely as men to be poor while they're working, but women in general wind up with less in retirement savings, a new study found.

The report, Your Future Paycheck: What Women Need to Know About Pay, Social Security, Pensions, Savings and Investments, found that women’s’ retirement balances are hurt by:

  • lower pay,
  • lack of pension coverage,
  • time off for care giving,
  • general employment patterns, and
  • marital status

The report, sponsored by the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), came to the startling conclusion that for women with income from private pensions or annuities, their median benefit is $4,164, compared to $7,768 for men.

According to WISER, not only do women earn $.73 cents for every dollar a man makes, but other report findings show that: 

  • only one in five women receive private pension income,
  • women lose $659,139 in earnings as a result of care giving duties, and
  • 63% of single older women have retirement incomes under $15,000

Worklife Problems

Women report significant economic issues while they are still working. Women generally earn about 70% of what men earn with the same college education

According to the survey,

  • 47% of women ages 21-34 are more likely to carry credit card debt than 35% of men,
  • 53% of young single women live paycheck-to-paycheck compared to 42% of men,
  • more women work part-time in female-dominated occupations that pay less and do not offer benefits,
  • almost six in ten African-American women and more than half of Hispanic women, worry that they can’t save adequately for retirement, and
  • fewer women enroll in pension plans, 45.5%, than do men at 54.5%.

The full report, Your Future Paycheck, and an executive summary may be obtained at the WISER Web site .