It’s apparent that Americans, both women and men, have not saved enough money for retirement. Studies increasingly indicate that many baby boomers have no financial plan to protect themselves against outliving their assets, and the rising cost of health care. So, what makes women so much more vulnerable than men?
Longevity. It’s a phenomenon seen in every population. It seems women just live longer:—76.4 years for males and 81.2 years for females. When they reach 85, there are roughly six women to every four men. But whether that’s a bragging right depends on the quality of life the women experience in those additional years.
Health-care costs. Because of their longevity, women have a greater likelihood of spending money on a series of illnesses. Their rates for chronic conditions (ie. diabetes and high blood pressure) are similar to men, but women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches, joint, back or neck pain. One thing is moving in the right direction for women, though: the cost of insurance. Beginning in 2014, an Obamacare provision prohibited insurance companies from charging higher rates based on gender or any pre-existing health conditions.
Caregiving. Women are not only caring for their children but also for parents, feeling it is their duty to do so. But, few plan for it. The costs associated with these roles were further exacerbated by the women’s inability to focus on more lucrative careers.
Income inequality. Men still out earn women by a large margin. Although women are becoming more educated and make up a larger portion of the country’s workforce, they consistently earn less than men, even when they have similar levels of education. Women face challenges because of maternity leave, their need to balance home and work and their limited ability to travel.
Education misconceptions. Over the past decade, we have seen dramatic increases in the education level of females. Women now outnumber men in institutions of higher learning and graduate at higher levels than men. So it’s not that women lack the credentials necessary for advancement, but when a male and a female with the same credentials apply for the same job, the male counterpart is more often chosen over the female.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as the gap is shrinking every year. A recent study by ADP Research Institute found that women are more likely to save than men, and they’re saving a higher percentage of wages.
It takes a keen awareness of these vulnerabilities, some planning and a little discipline. Women can break through these barriers with the right planner, the right tools and the right attitude.
Edited and copied from Financial Adviser Magazine, 10/21/2015, Catherine M. Seeber, by Corrin Trowbridge, 650-876-9600, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.Trowbridgeins.com