Washington Post Writers Group, May 9, 2009 — Syndicated columnist Marie Coco covers NIRS new research brief and says Mother’s Day is a time for more conversations about how mothers—and all American women—are going to be supported in old age.
Despite all the educational and employment gains women have made over the last three decades, “there’s still a tremendous gender gap” in retirement prospects, says Beth Almeida, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security tells Coco.
Coco writes that women used to depend on traditional pensions that under the law protected surviving spouses, usually a widow, with lifetime monthly benefits. These pensions are becoming extinct. Then they were expected, like most American workers, to self-finance their retirement through 401(k) savings plans. But women live longer and earn less than men. Their lower pay means they can’t save as much, yet they need more savings in old age.
The double bind leaves them much more likely to run out of savings before they die. And that’s before the escalating costs of health care are figured in.
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