New Study Highlights Retirement Risks for Women Amid Pandemic

New Study Highlights Retirement Risks for Women Amid Pandemic

The economic fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused many workers to reevaluate their retirement plans, but women may be feeling particularly vulnerable according to a new report by the non-profit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

Of the more than 5,200 full- and part-time employees canvassed for the 2020 Transamerica Retirement Survey for Workers – a field that included more than 2,800 women – 24% of female workers say their confidence in their ability to retire comfortably has declined amid the pandemic, and only 17% say they are “very” confident they will be able to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.

Among the other findings in Women and Retirement: Risks and Realities Amid COVID-19, a report that emerged from that larger survey:

  • Fifty-two percent of women workers have experienced one or more impacts to their employment situation as a result of the pandemic, including reduced work hours (24%), layoffs (16%), reduced salaries (13%), furloughs (13%) and/or early retirement (4%).
  • Fifty-four percent of women expect to work past age 65 or do not plan to retire and 56% plan to continue working at least part-time in retirement; eighty-one percent of these women cite financial reasons, while almost as many (76%) cite healthy aging-related reasons.
  • Women have saved only $28,000 (estimated median) in all household retirement accounts, with Millennial women having saved $11,000, Generation X at $46,000 and Baby Boomers at $84,000 (estimated medians).
  • Women have only $5,000 (median) in emergency savings, with Millennial women having saved $2,000, Generation X at $5,000 and Baby Boomers at $10,000 (medians).
  • Thirty-eight percent of women have served as a caregiver during the course of their working career; among them, 9 in 10 made some sort of adjustment to their work situation, such as using vacation days, missing days of work, reducing hours, reducing job responsibilities and/or taking a leave of absence, among other work-related adjustments.

“A woman’s path to a secure retirement is filled with obstacles, such as lower pay and time out of the workforce for parenting or caregiving, which can negatively impact her long-term financial situation,” says Catherine Collinson, president and CEO of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. “Amid the pandemic, these challenges have intensified with layoffs, furloughs and extended periods of time working from home. But timely actions taken today can lead to better retirement outcomes tomorrow. Policymakers, industry and employers also play important roles in supporting women by bridging inequalities, offering products and services tailored to women’s unique needs and ensuring women in the workforce have equal pay and benefits.”