Twice as many older women live in poverty than older men.
During the working years, women, in general earn less than men. They may have taken time off to have and to raise children and may have just not made as much as their male counterparts. In addition to having made less, women live longer. So they are in a position of having to spread those life savings over a longer period of time. Finally, if fortunate enough to receive a pension, a woman's average pension has been about 1/3 less than the average pension of her husband's. Many of the older pensions were discontinued if he passed away, so then the she was left with only her social security income. About 1/3 of our older seniors rely primarily on social security income - which means they are living in poverty.
The Department of Labor states the participation of women over 55 years old continues to increase. I wonder if this is because we are healthier longer and just have a need to contribute or if it's driven out of necessity.
In 2004 the median income for women 55 to 64 years of age was $20,810. For women over 65 it dropped to $12,080. It was nearly double that in both categories for men.
When I was researching this article I thought the facts would reinforce my thoughts about the importance of planning ahead. Instead, I came to an eye opening new conclusion. Whether or not you pay attention to the pay disparity between men and women, and whether or not you think it's important - know this: the pay disparity may well mean no matter how much older women plan ahead with their savings, they are entering senior-dom with a financial disadvantage that they did not create. If this financial disadvantage is created by the societal norms we put in place, how responsible are we as a society to ensure these older senior women's housing and healthcare are addressed? What do you think?