Even though women have fought for and earned equal rights a long time ago, if you take a closer look at the current legislation you might be tempted to state otherwise. Unlike men, women are usually forced to interrupt a potential promising career in order to take care of their children and elderly parents. However, these do not constitute the only examples of unique challenges women have to face, as you will see when you reach retirement age.
1. A longer life expectancy
In spite of the fact that life expectancy has been decreasing in the past decades, women continue to live longer than men. While women in the US are expected to live 85 years on average, in reality almost half of them reach 90 and some even reach the age 95+. Irrespective of how optimistic these statistics sound, for women it means that they need to save more money to account for the longer life expectancy. If you're already approaching the golden years and consider that you don't have sufficient savings to permit a decent living, then the only option is staying in the workforce a bit longer.
2. The consequent widowhood
A rather gloomy consequence of women outliving men is that they are very likely to spend the last years of their lives as widows. Once the husband dies – unfortunately this is the case for 70% of the retired women – the financial security of the household usually drops significantly, at times by 37%. In addition to not being able to share living expenses, as they grow older women are bond to face further expenditures due to age related conditions.
3. Women earn less than men
It is true that the workforce conditions have improved in the past two decades for women approaching the retirement age. However, analyzing the overall earning they made during their lifetime, it is necessary to mention that women nowadays earn 25% less than men. While this may be shocking in the current modern society, the reason for the lower income stems from the fact that women are forced to spend less time in the workplace.
4. If you don't work enough, you will not be eligible for a retirement plan at work
Although most corporations nowadays offer comprehensive retirement plans for their employees – both men and women – apparently, women have a harder time qualifying because they didn't meet basic requirements, such as working enough months per year. What is even worse is that women who actually qualify for the company retirement plan contribute less, more exactly 6.7%, compared to the 7.2% men contribution rates.
5. Women often forget to "maximize" Social Security
While it is true that women take a larger percentage of their retirement income from Social Security than men, they will not be able to save a lot of cash unless they maximize the available sum. Besides having a large retirement fund, claiming the Social Security later on means women can enjoy a permanent increase of the monthly benefits, which is another good reason to stay in the workforce for a few more years.
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