On average, a woman retiring at age 65 can expect to live another 20 years in retirement (see EBRI's Databook on Employee Benefits, Chapter 21).  According the Census Bureau, in 2007, 67.8 percent of all Americans age 85 and older are women. In 2006, at age 65 a woman's income, on average, was 58.1 percent of a man's at age 65 (see EBRI's Databook on Employee Benefits, Chapter 6). In 2006, 28.4 percent of women age 65 and older received income from an employment-based pension plan and/or annuity with a median benefit amount of $7,092 compared with 44.6 percent of men age 65 and over with a median benefit amount of $12,108 (see EBRI's Databook on Employee Benefits, Chapter 8).

Women have become an increasing presence in the work force. In 1970, 43.3 percent of women were in the U.S. work force; by 2006, 59.4 percent were participating in the work force. A woman is therefore more likely today and in the future to have employment-based retirement benefits in her own name. How do women perceive their retirement preparedness? Consider the following statistics from EBRI/Matthew Greenwald & Associates 2008 Retirement Confidence Survey (data drawn from fact sheet Gender Comparisons Among Workers):

    • 68 percent of women report they have saved for retirement compared with 76 percent of men
    • 59 percent of women report they are currently saving for retirement compared with 70 percent of men
    • 14 percent of women say they are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement
    • 23 percent of men say they are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement
    • 28 percent of women say they are confident they will have enough money to take care of basic expenses in retirement
    • 40 percent of men say they are confident they will have enough money to take care of basic expenses in retirement

    ASEC and Choose-to-Save recognize the importance of saving for retirement and the particular concerns of women. Therefore we have pulled together on this page, a several Internet resources to teach women about what they need to know so they can achieve a happy and financially secure retirement.


    Websites on Women and Retirement

    Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER):  WISER teaches low and moderate income women about financing so that they may take control of their finances and their lives, and to increase awareness of the barriers standing in the way of women having full participation in the US’ retirement systems. 

    U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau:  DOL’s Women’s Bureau seeks to improve the economic status of working women and their families through better job opportunities and earnings. 

    AARP:  A non-partisan, nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals over age 50, AARP has over 39 million members worldwide. 

    Social Security Administration:  The Social Security Administration promotes the economic security of Americans by maintaining the necessary leadership to shape and manage the nation’s Social Security programs. 

    National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning:  A branch of WISER, this resource contains all the necessary tools and information women, government officials, and educators need to plan for and understand a woman’s retirement. 

    Women’s Institute for Financial Education:  WIFE is the oldest non-profit organization dedicated to aid women as they strive for economic independence by providing them with the financial information/tools they need in order to succeed and change their lives. 

    Wi$e Up! Women:  Aimed at Generation X and Y Women, Wi$e Up! is a financial education program developed by the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. 


    Why Women Need Retirement More than Men Do:  an excerpt from “Your Next Fifty Years” by Ginita Wall and Candace Behr, the section doles out tips on how women can improve their financial security before and during retirement by better understanding Social Security, saving more money, learning about their finances, and more. 

    Retirement and Marriage (Forbes): written for Forbes by Jan Cullinane and Cathy Fitzgerald, this article examines under what conditions women are happiest during retirement-whether both they and their husbands are working, whether one spouse is working, etc.  While it does not necessarily address the financial concerns about retirement, Retirement and Marriage focuses on the social aspects of life’s golden years. 

    Women and Retirement: Six Stories of Six Women (AARP):  stories by six different women on how they have (or have not) prepared for retirement.  From starting at an early age to saving the bare minimum, to working through the retirement years, as well as other situations, each woman’s story is one that women everywhere can relate to-and learn from.

    Women and a Secure Retirement (AARP):  this article looks toward the future of women and retirement, as the current era is one in which women have unprecedented job opportunities and are making more money than ever before, yet they still face uncertain challenges in the future.  From living far more years than men to a greater threat of poverty during retirement, it has never been more important for women to be adequately prepared for their financial future.


    Ballpark E$timate Worksheet:  an easy-to-use, two-page worksheet that helps you quickly identify approximately how much you need to save to fund a comfortable retirement, the Ballpark E$timate takes complicated issues like projected Social Security benefits and earnings assumptions on savings, and turns them into language and mathematics that are easy to understand.

    What is your R3 -- Retirement Readiness Rating?: So you think you're preparing well for your retirement, but are you really? Use this quiz to determine your Retirement Readiness Rating (R3). Your R3 is an indicator of how good a job you're actually doing in financial preparation for retirement. It may help you flag some action items that, up to now, you may have neglected or overlooked. And if you have, it provides some resources to point you in the right direction and help you get started!

    Retirement Personality Profiler: When it comes to retirement planning and saving, what kind of person are you? Are you a planner, saver, struggler, impulsive, or denier? Take the Retirement Personality Profiler quiz and find out! Determining your personality type may help you flag some action items that, up to now, you may have neglected or overlooked. In addition, it provides some resources to point you in the right direction and help you get started!


    Women and Retirement tips (Bella Online):  five questions to ask yourself about your preparation for retirement and five solutions to lead you in the right direction. 

    The Girl's Guide to Retirement (Smart Money):  find out how the smart way to prepare for retirement while uncovering staggering facts about the savings and retirement gap between men and women. 

    Downloadable Brochures and Publications:

    Women and Retirement Savings (DOL): learn four reasons why women should start saving for retirement at an early age, as well as tips and strategies they can use to begin the savings process NOW.

    Women and Retirement Security (SSA): this 1998 report by the Social Security Administration highlights several startling facts about women and retirement, such as how they have lower retirement income than men (and therefore more poverty), women rely too much on Social Security as their only source of retirement income, and women’s pension coverage is much lower than that of men. 

    Women and Pensions: A Decade of Progress? EBRI Issue Brief #227, November 2000. This Issue Brief compares changes from 1989 to 1998 in pension participation, accumulation, and allocation for employed women, versus employed men, ages 18-62. In addition, it provides an estimate of the gender “pension gap” in defined contribution accumulations, contrasts this with the gender “earnings gap,” and provides explanations for these differences.

    EBRI Databook on Employee Benefits, Chapter 8 Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income: Table 8.2 presents data on the percentage of women receiving an annuity and/or employment-based pension by various demographics as well and the mean and median amount received.  Data is presented time series from 1975 to the present.  

    Women Face Challenges in Ensuring Financial Security in Retirement:  This GAO report discusses in-depth the gap between men and women’s retirement income, since women earn less money than men, certain life events can significantly lower the amount of a woman’s net income in retirement, and because women live longer than men. 

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