This week at FinCon18 we’re showcasing the many programs and efforts that we have to help Americans plan for – and ideally achieve – a secure retirement. AARP’s Financial Ambassador, Jean Chatzky, is even delivering a powerful keynote at the conference on big themes in personal finance over the next decade. With that in mind, I got to thinking about big themes for women in particular. The ever-changing role of American women has been front and center the past few years. You can see that just by looking at the historic numbers of women running for office this year and the record-breaking number of women-owned businesses. But you know what isn’t changing? The fact that women are more likely to face poverty than men during retirement, especially black women and Latinas. Women face an uphill battle when it comes to their future financial security. On average, women live longer than men, so their retirement savings need to stretch farther into the future. On top of that, their wages tend to be lower, making it more challenging to save and their future Social Security benefits even smaller. What’s more, many take time out of the workforce (or turn to alternative work plans like part-time or contracting) to provide care for children, elderly parents and other loved ones. All of these factors make it even harder for women to grow the savings they need for a bright and secure future. While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle, it is not enough to depend on. Yet, so many women age 65+ rely on Social Security for nearly all of their family income:
Thinking about your eventual retirement? If you're relatively well-off, you're probably confident that your tax-deferred savings will provide your major source of income. But if you're at the other end of the income ladder, you're more likely to count on Social Security benefits to tide you over.
It's not only politicians who have mixed reactions to a different way of calculating cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security benefits. Newspaper editorial writers and columnists are conflicted, too.
The Social Security benefit cut known as Chained CPI remains a piece of the deficit puzzle for reasons that baffle conservatives, veterans, progressives, and almost everyone in between. The $85 billion in sequester cuts for 2013 have begun and many in Washington have still said they're willing to cut the modest Social Security benefits we've earned by $127 billion over 10 years, even though Social Security by law remains separate from the budget and its deficit. Let's give every woman and anyone who has or has ever had a mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, aunt or girlfriend a reason to despise this wretched proposal.
We're shelling out about $2,000 a year more in Social Security taxes in 2013 (based on $50,000-a-year earnings) now that the tax break expired. But guess what? Most workers say they don't mind paying into the Social Security system, and in fact, they're willing to dig deeper into their pockets to eliminate a projected financing gap and to improve benefits, a new survey finds.
In 2011, the number of Americans taking early Social Security benefits dropped to a 35-year low, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. For the second consecutive year, those taking benefits fell (to 27% of the number of eligible older adults). That's down from 31% in 2009, reestablishing a 12-year downward trend interrupted only by the recent recession.
Record numbers of Boomers and older adults took Social Security retirement benefits at the height of the Great Recession, in large part to supplement their faltering income as joblessness rose. But a new report out this month finds that the financial situation of older workers may have turned around.
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