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Women are Not Planning Long-Term for Retirement

While half of women at age 65 will likely live beyond age 85, 92% of female retirees and 89% of female pre-retirees do not plan far enough in the future to cover this 20-year period. A new report from the Society of Actuaries (SOA) highlights these gaps in planning.
Given the fact that women outlive men on average by three or four years, women need to better plan for inflation, outliving assets and the need to cover long-term care costs. For example, the expected average cost of lifetime long-term care services is $29,000 for males and $82,000 for females, in 2000 dollars, which highlights the need for women to better prepare for the risk of incurring long-term care costs in retirement.
"Our study on the impact of retirement risks for women is meant to be a call to action for women to educate themselves on retirement-related risks, better prepare for the long-term and, hopefully, avoid financial shortfalls" said Anna Rappaport, co-author of the report.
The SOA report highlights five key risks affecting women in retirement, including:
  1. Outliving Assets– While men and women have similar planning horizons, women have significantly longer life expectancies.
    • 4 of 10 women over 65 living alone depend solely on Social Security for income.
  2. Loss of Spouse–Because women have longer life expectancies than men and traditionally are younger than their husbands, periods of widowhood of 15 years or more are not uncommon. For many women, the death of a spouse is accompanied by a decline in standard of living.
    • 85% of women over age 85 are widows, compared to 45 percent of men.
  3. Decline in Functional Status–Women are likely to have a longer period of chronic disability and are more likely to need care in a long-term facility or from a paid caregiver.
    • women are more likely than men to have to pay for assistance during the final years of retirement.
  4. Healthcare and Medical Expenses–Health benefit costs may affect women more than men because they often have lower incomes, but not lower health care costs, and are less likely to have employer provided early retiree health benefits.
    • Health care costs for a retired couple both at age 65 in 2010 can amount to $250,000 over their retirement years, not including the cost of long-term care.
  5. Inflation and the Economy–Inflation has a greater impact on women due to their longer life expectancy.
The Womens Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) co-sponsored the report.
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Women are Not Planning Long-Term for Retirement
Women are Not Planning Long-Term for Retirement
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