For the more than 40 million Americans age 65 and older, who make up 13% of the population, retirement is nearing closer and closer every day. But the problem comes for the 51% of homemakers who have no saving and retirement strategy whatsoever. Because 81% of homemakers are women, this means a big issue for women entering retirement.
One of the reasons this problem disproportionately affect women is that they have the tendency to live longer than their husbands.
Yet the marital status of retirees was also a factor. In 2013, only 22.8% of men over the age of 65 were divorced, separated, or widowed, compared to 49.7% of women in the same age group.
This can lead to financial problems for women, since their household income falls 41%, on average, after a divorce. This number is almost twice the percentage of household income decline for men.
Catherine Collinson, founder of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, thinks that it is the homemaker’s responsibility to be teaching their children the habits they’ll need to save successfully in the future.
“This is a huge opportunity for homemakers,” Collinson told CNBC. “By getting involved in family finances, they can also get involved in teaching their kids about money. Children are greatly influenced by their parents. By increasing their attention to household finances and even making kids part of the conversation — as appropriate — they can also go a long way toward shaping their children’s financial future.”
Collinson also added, “In the U.S. and other countries, it’s a hangover from prior generations in which women were not involved in family finances. In our own scan of available websites that are geared toward women, there is a greater emphasis on bridal gowns than budgets.”
In another recent story, the Wall Street Journal offered up advice for women who are hoping to get a head start on their retirement planning, and get smarter about saving.
“If you’re eligible for an employer-sponsored retirement plan, participate, and be sure to take advantage of whatever matching incentives your company offers,” the report advised. “Take advantage of catch-up 401(k) or IRA contributions if you’re over the age of 50 and have the means to ramp up your tax-deferred savings.”