Retirement Insecurity, a new report by The New Hampshire Women’s Policy Institute and underwritten by WISER, examines the financial status of New Hampshire’s older women and recommends state-level policy changes that could increase savings for current and future generations. The report provides the first-ever in-depth analysis of the financial status of New Hampshire’s women aged 65 and older. Among the paper’s major findings are:
· Women’s lower income during retirement years is driven by a disparity in lifetime earnings between women and men due to differences in pay rates, labor force participation in full-time and part-time work, as well as women’s primary role as caregivers in society. The estimated lifetime cost of caregiving is $659,139.
· New Hampshire women 65 and over who live alone have the lowest incomes among the state’s older population and are at the greatest risk of not being able to pay housing or health care costs. Sixty-two percent of older women living alone have incomes below what is needed to cover basic costs of living.
· The Institute estimates an older women living alone needs approximately $20,000 per year to cover the basic costs of living, just over twice the federal poverty level. Approximately 28,000 women 65 and over in New Hampshire had household incomes below that level in 2007.
· The lack of financial security is a major driver for public benefit programs as New Hampshire residents age. Is estimated that Medicaid spending on women aged 65 and over in 2020 is expected to cost New Hampshire taxpayers $330 million.
· There are a range of policies and activities which can be implemented now, many with minimal immediate cost that will help to ensure that the women of New Hampshire are able to live out their lives in the homes of their choosing and as a continued social, economic and political force in their communities.