Women and Retirement: The good, the bad, and the solutions

Research indicates that women are still living longer than men. About five years on average. There are some good and bad points around how women are positioned for retirement as well as some solutions for improving their retirement readiness. With some planning and preparation, women can enjoy this advantage and retire in style.

The Good

  • They have investable assets. Nearly half of all individuals with at least $500,000 of investable assets are women.
  • Their opinion counts. Seventy-nine percent of women feel their opinion determines family financial decisions.
  • They’re powerful consumers. Women are estimated to control two-thirds of U.S. consumer wealth.
  • They’re bringing home the bread. Mothers are the primary breadwinners in 40% of American families.

The Bad

  • They have lower retirement plan balances. With an average reported balance of $59,300, overall, women have lower retirement plan balances than men with an average reported balance of $100,000.
  • They need advice. Less than half of Boomer women and only a quarter of Gen X women have consulted a financial planner for retirement planning help.
  • They’re not taking advantage of available plans. Only 45% of the 62 million wage and salaried women took advantage of a retirement plan.
  • Their futures may not be so secure. For women age 65 and over, the average Social Security benefit is $13,000. For men 65 and over, it’s $17,000.
  • It may not be home, sweet home. More than 70% of nursing home residents are women.
  • Living longer costs more. During retirement, a 65-year-old woman can expect 13% more in cumulative health care expenses than a 65 year old man.

The Solutions for Enjoyable Retirement

There are things women can do to keep retirement enjoyable for the long haul.

  • Stay fit. Good health and physical condition enable you to do the things that make life fun whether it’s ecotourism travel or playing tennis. In the long run, it also works to keep the medical bills in check.
  • Make a plan. The planning process enables you to visualize your future and set goals against which you can measure the progress of your retirement preparations.
  • Get advice. Seek out and work with a knowledgeable expert who understands your unique needs and style.

Women and Retirement



Rachel Barrow

Director at Guardian Rachel brings more than 15 years of marketing, advertising and financial experience in the insurance and financial services industries to her role at Guardian. At Guardian, Rachel is responsible for developing marketing strategies and content resources for Guardian’s retirement product and service offerings. Under her leadership, educational tools and materials have been developed in the retirement space to help inform and meet the needs of individuals looking to take action and plan for The Next Now ® … Retirement.

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