It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it still isn’t right that women save substantially less for retirement than men. There are multiple factors, but the primary ones are unequal pay and time away from a paid job to raise children or to care for elders. In fact, women also spend 65% more time doing unpaid work than men.
In an article, written by Amanda Eisenberg, she says that women on average make roughly 79 cents for every $1 earned by a male, and unfortunately, women of color make substantially less than that. The lower wages and time away from the office impact not only retirement savings but social security wages, too.
Given that women tend to outlive men, this combination of lower retirement assets and smaller Social Security benefits is particularly onerous. In fact, it is estimated that women over 65 years old have an annual median income that is about 42% less than men. As a result, women tend to remain, if fortunate, in the workforce longer.
One proposal to help women would be for employers to offer guaranteed lifetime income options. I’m skeptical of this suggestion, not because I don’t like lifetime income strategies, but because the ” income annuity” will be impacted by the same factors mentioned above.
As a husband and father of three daughters, I’d prefer that we pay women and men based on capability and not gender. Furthermore, let’s figure out a way to compensate women for the considerable “free” work that they do. Instead of giving them a big fat $0 in a quarter where they don’t “earn” wages that would factor into their Social Security credits/calculation, let’s actually credit them some sum of earnings for the incredibly important job of raising children and taking care of the elderly.