Why Older Women Face Greater Financial Hardship Than Older Men


After grey divorce, women’s standard of living fell by 45 %, Dr. Lin and her co-author discovered, whereas males’s decreased by simply 21 %. Repartnering, both via remarriage or cohabitation, helped divorced older girls regain their monetary footing, however only 22 percent of women repartnered, in contrast with 37 % of males. (In Ms. Palazzo’s case: “Not going to happen.”)

Changes in Social Security eligibility and advantages might cut back a few of this inequity. The profit for a divorced partner, as an example, is half what a widowed partner can declare. Caregiver credits might partially compensate for years spent in youngster rearing or elder care.

“The basic rules were written in the 1930s,” Dr. Rutledge mentioned. “They don’t recognize women’s increased employment. They don’t recognize that people don’t stay married for good.” Mandated retirement financial savings applications (Australia has one) would additionally assist employees whose employers don’t supply them.

It’s potential to see progress in these patterns. “It’s good news that women are working and living independently, emerging as independent economic actors,” mentioned Teresa Ghilarducci, an economist at The New School, noting that youthful girls have been narrowing the gender hole in earnings and financial savings.

But many ladies presently approaching retirement could battle, particularly in the event that they’re single like Ms. Hartt. She now lives frugally on a $2,500 month-to-month Social Security profit. She drives a leaky 2001 Nissan she will likely be unable to switch when it dies. “Because I have no family and no savings, what worries me is if I were to become disabled, physically or mentally,” she mentioned.

One piece of luck: In September 2020, she moved right into a cheerful condominium in a Section eight sponsored housing advanced in New Haven, for seniors and other people with disabilities. The hire involves $670 a month, together with utilities.

“I feel safe,” she mentioned. “I’m at a kind of peace.” And as a result of she hasn’t absolutely squelched her optimism, she buys a number of lottery tickets every week.



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