Women reach retirement with fewer pension benefits and retirement assets than men. In 2010, the median annual income from pensions and annuities for women age 65 and older was approximately 56% of the median pensions and annuities income received by men ($8,400 versus $15,000). One study found that the median female worker near retirement with a 401(k) type plan or an individual retirement account had a balance of $34,000, while her male counterpart had an account balance of $70,000—more than twice as much. As a result, women rely more heavily on a spouse’s pension benefits. Strengthening spousal rights in retirement accounts would help to address this shortfall in retired women’s income.
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