Why Do Female Breadwinners Struggle to Save for Retirement?

March 3, 2017

Although women's wages are on the rise in comparison to their in-home male counterparts, these women are still struggling to properly save for retirement.

Due in part to the Great Recession of 2007–2009 and its effect on the male population, today almost 50% of U.S. women are the family breadwinners. Although women's wages are on the rise in comparison to their in-home male counterparts, these women are still struggling to properly save for retirement.

So what's the lag?

"While about 50% of households may have female breadwinners, women still comprise over 75% of primary caregivers in those households," according to Rebecca Schreiber, a certified financial planner in Washington, D.C. Caregivers are frequently the ones to take time off from work and dip into their retirement savings to pay for major expenses, medical or otherwise, for all whom they care for.

Caregivers pay an estimated $7,000 annually in out-of-pocket costs for caregiving and lose a total of $350,000 over their lifetimes in wages, Social Security benefits, and private pensions as a result of these responsibilities. Female breadwinners are often tasked with the care of their children and caring for aging parents, all of which can have a significant effect on their daily spending and ultimately their retirement savings habits.

Given that the financial health of almost 50% of U.S. households is transitioning into the hands of these female breadwinners, it is important now more than ever that these women have a financial plan in place. Female breadwinners not only need a financial plan that meets their personal incomes and retirement situations, but also the circumstances of the family at large, which may include income for the needs of multiple generations. It is crucial to the financial stability of these families, as well as for the longevity of your business, that you recognize the products and services necessary for this demographic.

If a gap in income is found that would pull these caregivers further from their retirement goals, an immediate annuity can be a great "gap-filler" for an urgent income need. Speak with your Pacific Life consultative wholesaler about our immediate annuity or suite of other annuity products that may help fill any income needs, whether now or in the future, specific to that client. Call your Pacific Life consultative wholesaler at (800) 722-2333 for more information.

Picture of Caroline Elrod

Caroline Elrod is a Retirement Strategies Consultant with the Retirement Solutions Division at Pacific Life. She brings several years of industry experience to her role that includes tax planning with insurance products. Caroline enjoys educating financial advisors on creative and practical solutions to business, estate and retirement planning concerns.

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