The Gen­der Gap--a Re­al­ity Check

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Short Hops -

In­come: Women, on aver­age, earn $0.77 for ev­ery dol­lar men earn--a con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ence over the course of a life­time. Em­ploy­ment: Women typ­i­cally spend more years out of the work­force to care for fam­ily mem­bers. Stud­ies es­ti­mate that 2 out of 3 in­for­mal care­givers are women, many of whom are mid­dle-aged mothers with chil­dren or adult chil­dren liv­ing in their house­holds. Since tra­di­tional pen­sion plans and So­cial Se­cu­rity ben­e­fits are gen­er­ally de­ter­mined by years of ser­vice, leav­ing work for pe­ri­ods of time of­ten means lower re­tire­ment ben­e­fits. Re­tire­ment In­come: The aver­age an­nual pen­sion ben­e­fit of a woman aged 65 and over is $12,137, com­pared with $19,557 for the aver­age 65-year-old man. Fur­ther­more, only 29.4% of women over 65 re­ceive pen­sion ben­e­fits at all. Longevity: Women tend to out­live men by about five years, and life ex­pectan­cies con­tinue to rise. In ad­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to U.S. Cen­sus Bureau data from 2010, women age 65 and over were three times as likely as men of the same age to be wid­owed (40% com­pared with 13%), and nearly three-quar­ters (73%) of women age 85 and over were wid­owed, com­pared with 35% of men. What does this mean to you? Sim­ply that all women -- whether sin­gle, mar­ried, di­vorced or wid­owed -- should make in­vest­ing for long-term fi­nan­cial goals a life­long en­deavor.

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