The Census Bureau’s newly releasednumbers highlight the challenges that almost all Americans are facing when trying to reach a financially stable retirement, and this challenge is even greater for women. A few findings from the report are as follows:
- The wage gap between men and women grew between 2007 and 2008. Median earnings for women in 2008 were just $35,745, while median earnings for men totaled $46,367. Women are earning only 77 percent of what men earn, down from 78 percent in 2007.
- The poverty rate increased this year also: the 2008 poverty rate was 13.2 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2007. This is the first significant increase in the poverty rate since 2004.
- The income deficit, the difference between a family’s income and the poverty line, for families in poverty increased between 2007 and 2008. This income deficit was largest for families with female headed households ($9,638). (Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the
: 2008) United States
Women clearly have many obstacles to overcome when planning for a secure retirement. According to a WISER Special Report, The Pay Gap is Connected to the Retirement Gap, almost half of all women work in lower-paying jobs that do not offer retirement plans or 401(k)s.
In addition, women take, on average, 12 years off of work to provide caregiving. While women are busy taking care of family members, they lose years of income to add to their Social Security benefits and retirement plans.
What Can you Do About it?
While these statistics may seem daunting, there are lots of things women can do to start taking control of their financial futures, and the best time to start is now!
Want an easy way to get on the right track? Check out WISER’s website to learn about saving and investing strategies. Educating yourself is a crucial step in planning your secure retirement!