Thursday, April 27, 2006

Burgeoning Number of Older Women Being Forced Back into the Workplace

Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Bonnie Miller Rubin tells the story of how women are particularly vulnerable to the eroding retirement backstops--Social Security, company pensions and personal savings--because they tend to start working later, earn less and live longer. Citing U.S. Department of Labor statistics that show that the number of women over 65 in the workforce has increased by 38% since 1980, while male participation has remained stable, she shows how ill-prepared many women are for this stage of life, which can stretch two decades beyond age 65.
Women's lifetime earnings look different on average than those of men. Women are concentrated in low-wage or part-time jobs and can lack experience dealing with financial matters. They are more apt to drop out of the workforce to be a caregiver, resulting in more meager assets. Such reasons help explain why older women are flocking to job fairs and filling out applications in record numbers, experts say.
Rubin quotes Cindy Hounsell, president of the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, who testified about the retirement gender gap before the Senate Committee on Aging, that as saying that it is a "startling post-retirement picture for millions of women who have worked their entire lives."

Source: "More working women find they can't afford to retire" Chicago Tribune (April 24, 2006) Need to register (free)

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