How Women’s Retirement Shortfall Could Impact Healthcare Security in Retirement
A recent retirement study reported significant differences in savings rates by gender. Among its findings: The average 401(k) account balance for men is 50% greater than that of women, and nearly half of female workers may not be saving anything for retirement compared to 60% of men.1
There are a number of reasons why women may find saving for retirement challenging. On average, women’s wages lag those of their male counterparts; women take more time out of the workplace to care for children or aging parents; and their finances are often negatively impacted by divorce or the death of a spouse. This can be problematic since women tend to live longer than men and may need income for a longer period of time in retirement.
Lower savings rates can mean delaying retirement for a number of years to continue accumulating assets to support important lifestyle goals, including the ability to pay for healthcare costs in retirement. Medicare covers a portion of costs through Part A (hospitalization insurance), which is premium-free for most people age 65 and over. However, beneficiaries are responsible for monthly Part B Medicare premiums, which help pay for doctor visits and other expenses.2 Additional costs are associated with prescription drug, vision, and hearing plans. However, the single greatest healthcare-related expense many will face is long-term care, which is not covered by Medicare or private insurance. The median yearly cost of an assisted living facility in the United States in 2021 was $54,000, compared to more than $61,000 annually for a home health aide, and just over $108,000 per year for a private room in a nursing home.3 These costs usually increase annually.
While these numbers can be daunting, there are ways to help plan for healthcare and other expenses in retirement, beginning with maintaining a budget to help identify opportunities to save for long-term goals and participating in a qualified retirement plan. If your employer plan offers matching contributions, try to save at match level or higher so you’re not leaving free money on the table. And if you’re over 50 and able to do so, consider maximizing contributions and making annual catch-up contributions to a 401(k) or IRA. Making healthy lifestyle choices may also help reduce the likelihood of developing chronic conditions, which can help keep healthcare costs in check.
To learn more about strategies to inspire confidence in your financial future, call the office to schedule time to talk.
1) Shell, Adam, “Women Have Significantly Less Saved in 401(k)s Than Men — And What to Do About It.” Kiplinger.com, 28 JUN 2023, https://www.kiplinger.com/retirement/401ks/women-have-significantly-less-saved-in-401ks-than-men-and-what-to-do-about-it
This communication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought.