Retirement is different for married women. But also for women in general. An increase in the full retirement age (FRA) has reduced Social Security benefits for all Americans, not just married women. And more women than ever are in the workforce, which has resulted in a major decrease in the prevalence of SS benefits.
Women in their 50s who are at the most financial risk in retirement are those who are married and in two-income households. That’s the surprising news from a recent report on women and retirement from Prudential Financial.
Marriage can certainly be beneficial in retirement planning; but that doesn’t mean that if you’re single, you should rush to get hitched to secure security in your old age. With careful planning and diligence, single, widowed and divorced women can fare just as well.
Married women are more likely to feel positive about their retirement savings than their single counterparts… or so the data shows. According to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, married women are more confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement than divorced or never-married women.
In the Retirement Survey, 76% of married female workers were very or somewhat confident they would have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years compared with just 43% of divorced female workers and 51% of never-married female workers.
The average 401(k) savings rate for one-income households and two-income, two-saver households is typically around 8% to 9% of household earnings, CRR says. But the average savings rate for two-income, one-saver households, it found, is only 4.9% of household earnings.
A new T. Rowe Price 401(k) survey said that boomer women have a 401(k) savings balance of $59,000, much less than half of the $138,000 median balance of boomer men.
So why are women better off married than never married or divorced?
Given the contrasts among women of differing marital statuses, data reveals significant differences in these three key areas:
- Retirement Savings: Although Americans in general are terrible at saving for retirement , single women tend to be farther behind the curve than married women. (EBRI Study)
- Economic Status: Married women’s households have higher earnings and more home equity, greater assets in a defined-contribution plan, and are more likely to be covered by a defined-benefit plan. (NRRI Study)
- Health & Financial Risks: Single women are also at greater risk of losing all of their assets because of job loss or health complications, and more likely to develop a serious medical condition, suffer a disability or enter a nursing home than married couples. (CRR Study)
Whether you are married or not, there are ways to increase your chances of a financially secure and successful retirement.
Clearly, there are issues here that must be overcome. The approaches currently being used simply doesn’t appear to be as effective for unmarried women, likely due to the resulting financial and life-circumstance upheaval of a divorce or death of a spouse. However, just like your single male counterparts, women in every marital status can help themselves now for a comfortable retirement.
A supplemental survey conducted by EBRI in late March showed that women in differing situations could benefit from receiving more specialized information and assistance with retirement preparation and everyday financial issues.
By gaining a personalized financial strategy from an expert, women in all circumstances can attain invaluable advice for a better sense of security when planning for retirement; You want to know if you’ve saved enough, if your money will last and if you have all your bases covered.
If you’re a woman who’s been avoiding financial planning, it’s never too late to get involved. The Retirement Income advisors at CKS Summit Group specialize in helping women achieve fresh new ideas for retirement income; and we are most interested in what YOU want out of life.
Make this the year you take control of your own financial future. Contact us here today so we can plan for a comfortable and confident retirement while also making the most of your current lifestyle and each step you take along life’s journey.