Reflecting on Women’s Retirement Security

Retirement homepageAs we approach the end of Women’s History Month, it’s timely to think about one pressing issue affecting women: retirement security. As described most recently in a recent report by the National Institute for Retirement Security [PDF], women are paid less than men, are more likely to take time out of the workforce for caregiving than men, and are more likely to work part-time than men. And life events like divorce can also have a significant (read: negative) impact on women’s retirement.
These factors add up to fewer savings and lower retirement income from pensions and Social Security. The NIRS report found that women receive 25% less retirement income than men, on average, and are 80% more likely to fall into poverty in their elder years. And women are more likely than men to rely on a spouse’s retirement savings and income.
There are policies that could strengthen women’s retirement security, including improvements to Social Security, expanding eligibility to participate in employer-sponsored retirement savings plans to part-time workers, and improving protections for spouses for retirement savings. But one thing is for sure: doing nothing is not the answer.