If You Think Things Suck Now, Just Wait 'Til You're Old & Poor


The good news is, women are living longer than ever. The bad news is: Women are living longer than ever. Not only are elderly women outliving men, they’re outliving their savings accounts.

According to a story in the Springfield News-Sun:

Women, on average, accumulate less income than men in retirement because they are more likely to work part-time jobs, interrupt their careers to care for elderly family members and take an extended break from work to raise children, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Many of us have a vision, a belief: you work, reach the age of 65, and retire somewhere sunny to wear muumuus and collect stained glass. But the reality is that a 65-year-old women will likely live 20 years or more, and often, the money runs out. Just plugging your age and salary into a retirement calculator can be a sobering experience; if you want scale down and live on 75% of current salary when you’re 85, you may need to save $1,000 a month, starting now. And! If you can only save $500 a month, and would like to retire with a $1 million, you will need to save for 38 years and 3 months to reach that number. (Adjusting for inflation, you need to save for 56 years and 3 months.) Don’t forget, as Cindy Hounsell, president of the nonprofit Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, notes: “Women live longer and have chronic illnesses that are far more expensive.”

But maybe this comes as no surprise to you. Maybe your grandmother, aunt, or mother is facing a non-ideal retirement situation (which often involves not retiring at 65, but working until you’re 70 or 80). Michelle Hemphill, marketing director at Villa Springfield, an old-age home in Ohio, says she sees women in trouble on a daily basis. “They come in just for short term rehab, but don’t have any progress and can’t go home.” More than 60 percent of their residents are women. “We help them apply for Medicaid, but sometimes they have to cash in life insurance, sell property, or go down to living on $40 a month just to stay here.”

Where can you live on $40 a month? Keep in mind that your eyesight might be bad, your hearing might be gone and your bones will not want to climb stairs. Sigh. Seems like since women are still paid less than men and often afraid to ask for a raise, it’s in high time we had some decent education and outreach regarding financial health. Women are inundated with advertising and marketing campaigns and spend huge chunks of money on haircuts, manicures, pedicures, anti-aging skin creams and other beauty-oriented products and services. But how does looking pretty and young help us when we’re old and broke?

Elderly Women Outliving Men, Savings Accounts [Springfield News-Sun]
Think We’ve Cracked the Code on Gender Salary Equality in the Workplace? Think Again [Forbes]
‘They Don’t Negotiate’: Why Young Women College Graduates Are Still Paid Less Than Men, 5 Ways To Earn What You’re Worth [Huffington Post]

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