Aging is primarily a women’s issue: Women face longer lives, less retirement savings

Buffalo Toronto Public Media: Aging is primarily a women’s issue’ Women face longer lives, less retirement savings (April 1, 2022)

Longer life spans mean women need more money for retirement than men, yet their increased caregiving responsibilities, coupled with the gender pay gap, make it difficult for them to save as much as men.

Households headed by single women have an average retirement savings of just $37,000, compared to $62,000 for households headed by single men, according to an analysis of the Federal Reserve Board’s 2016 Consumer Finance Survey.

This can lead to women becoming impoverished later in life. In fact, 12% of women 65 and older live in poverty, compared to just 7% of older men, according to data from the Social Security Administration. “When you think about the low-wage workforce, you’re often talking about women,” said Tracey Gronniger, an attorney with Justice in Aging, a Washington, D.C.-based elder law advocacy group. “Lower income means over a lifetime that there’s less in terms of savings, and less for emergencies, which kind of compounds on itself and means that there’s not enough money to really live as you’re getting older.”

“When we talk about the challenges that older women face in general, it’s just magnified for older women of color and for LGBTQ women, who are dealing with more in terms of discrimination, and less in terms of income and wealth,” said Gronniger, who is directory attorney for Justice in Aging’s economic security team. “Just the differences there are really significant.”

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