The Gender Gap--a Reality Check
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.