Sometimes life happens, and financial needs get pushed to a back burner. What happens to the daughter, wife, and mother who is living the life of the “sandwich generation”? She is a working wife, mom, and daughter – caring for a home, raising kids and caring for their parents all at the same time.
Women saving for retirement
Is this woman able to save for retirement? There’s already a wage gap, and a lot of women have cared for children so they’ve lost years of wages or they’ve worked part-time with no benefits. Now many of these same women are in a position of caring for their parents, so they are quitting work again or moving to part-time employment out of necessity. Whether it is hiring care for your children or parents, it is expensive, and sometimes a woman’s work schedule has to be altered to accommodate the needs of the family. Often, women live longer than men too.
It seems apparent why women are much more likely to be poor at retirement age than men. Women put in many long hours in various occupations and still have the responsibility and pressure associated with obtaining proper care for their family members.
Recommendations to improve retirement for women:
- Improving social security
- Increasing tax credits for savers
- Automated enrollment in IRAs
- Introducing retirement plans to part-time workers.
For example, Starbucks has been offering benefits to part-time employees making it a favorite employer for those who need a part-time work schedule.
We all should care about this retirement gender gap problem and do what we can to make a difference. Whether it’s your grandmother, aunt, mother, wife, daughter, friend or peer, you want to see this person get to retire well someday. Our country’s hard-working women are earning less, taking time off work typically out of necessity, working part-time often out of necessity, saving less money for retirement and living longer.
Kara Stiles at Forbes wrote an excellent piece that details the problems women face in saving for retirement. These include the wage gap, losing earning years to caregiving for children, working part time (so no benefits), and just plain living longer than men. The retirement gender gap won’t go away unless we address it properly as a society, and soon.