Saving for retirement can be difficult. It requires foresight, financial literacy, and the ability to stay consistent with your budget. But when you’re a woman, you’re likely to face more challenges than the average person. To help you best plan for the future, it’s important to understand how gender inequality impacts women in retirement.
The gender pay gap
It’s no secret that women, on average, earn less than men for the same amount of work. In fact, according to a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, women earned 93 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2017. This 7 cents difference builds up over time and reduces the amount of retirement funds a woman can save.
But the pay gap gets even worse when we look at the average incomes of senior women compared to senior men. In 2016, a study by the NIRS revealed that women over 65 years of age had a median household income of about $47,000, compared to the $57,000 median income of men. That accounts for a 17% difference in household income.
Overall, this large pay gap makes it much more difficult for women to save for their golden years.
The impact of caregiving on wealth
Another factor that impacts a woman’s ability to save is the responsibility of caregiving. Since it’s more common that women to take part-time jobs or pull away from the workforce completely to attend to caregiving responsibilities, it significantly impacts their retirement income in the long run.
In fact, according to the NIRS, female caregivers below the age of 50 have almost a third fewer retirement funds compared to female non-caregivers. In contrast, male non-caregivers only make 15% more than caregiver men. This shows that caregiving as a whole negatively impacts the retirement funds of women far more than it does men.
While overcoming gender inequality isn’t necessarily easy, there are ways to empower yourself and overcome the retirement savings obstacles in your way.
1. Increase your financial literacy
The first step toward the path of achieving your dream retirement is to increase your financial literacy. By learning the basics of financial terms and money management, you will be better able to invest and save for an abundant future.
For example, it’s important to know the basics of retirement accounts, such as the difference between IRAs, 401(k)s and annuities. Luckily, online there is a never-ending resource of finance books and blogs to teach you everything you need to know about saving and investing.
2. The power of self-employment
While the gender pay gap is frustrating, it isn’t something you have to deal with when you’re self-employed. The sky’s the limit when you make money with your own business or side hustle. You don’t have someone else dictating what you get paid. Instead, when you’re self-employed, you’re in control of your financial future.
Some side hustle ideas you might want to consider include:
- E-book writer
- Stock photography saleswoman
- Etsy shop owner
- Design freelancer
- Wedding photographer
When you’re choosing a side hustle, don’t be afraid to get creative. Think about your existing unique skills and hobbies and brainstorm how you can monetize them.
Closing thoughts on how gender inequality impacts women in retirement
Saving for retirement as a woman can be an uphill battle. You have to deal with the gender wage gap, you’re more likely to pull away from the workforce due to caregiving responsibilities, and you’re less likely to have retirement savings account in the first place.
That said, there are ways to overcome these challenges. Educating yourself about money and consistently contributing to a retirement plan can increase your odds of financial abundance in your golden years.
If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to creating a retirement savings account, check out our infographic below about the differences between annuities and 401(k) plans.