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The Gender Gap in Retirement Savings

July 24, 2019

As lifespans lengthen the importance of saving ahead for retirement cannot be overstated. However, equally concerning is that women find it more difficult to plan for retirement. In the US, data from Ebri reports the average retirement savings deficit of boomers aged 60-64 is $12,640 for widowers and $15,782 for widows. The report further highlights that the shortfall increases for single men to $24,905 and for single women to $62,127. In Canada, the Broadbent Institute found the poverty rate for senior single women is increasing constantly and said to get worse in the future.

Why are women saving less in retirement savings?

There are a number of factors that contribute to the gender gap in retirement savings. One of the reasons is that women tend to face more career disruptions by either looking after elderly parents or taking maternity leave. In fact, Statistics Canada reports that women on average work for 28 years while men work for about 38 years in the span of their career.

In addition, women outliving men poses a risk to how female boomers can manage their financial well-being in retirement. Despite women living longer, generally, they have less in retirement savings.

What are the options for women?

Younger women can still define what they want their career and salary to look like in preparing for longevity during retirement. It is important that younger women step up and advocate for policies that bridge this gap in the workplace. Women already in retirement can take on occasional work while enjoying retirement. BoomersPlus offers work opportunities to female boomers.

What can men do?

Men should assist women in speaking up and closing the pay gap in the labour market. They should help advocate for policies that close the pay gap in the workplace.

What can Employers do?

Employers have a role to play in advocating women’s right when it comes to pay gap between both genders working in similar roles. Employers sometimes do not look at the bigger picture of how the current job can impact the retirement years of an individual, particularly a woman. Employers can adopt a kid-friendly and supportive environment that can encourage womens’ careers and enable women to not have to choose between career or family.

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