Women face unique financial challenges as they age. Compared to men, women live longer, earn less and spend fewer years in the workforce. Exacerbating these realities, females who are divorced, widowed, or otherwise single may have spent their adult years caring for children and other family members. This frequently has real financial consequences. Planning for long term care is an issue of particular importance for females.
There are a number of reasons why planning for long term care is so important to women:
1. Women live longer. Back in 1900, women and men shared a similar life expectancy of about 47 years. Today the longevity of both men and women has increased overall by 30+ years, with the life expectancy for women generally five years longer than men. With longer life comes an increased risk of health problems. There are significantly more women than men living in nursing homes today. In addition, women are also more likely to sustain a disability or be diagnosed with a chronic health condition.
2. Women often lack the resources necessary to fund the care needed later in life. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average woman in the U.S. who is employed full-time earns less than her male counterpart (80 cents for every dollar a man earns). In addition, women typically spend nearly 12 years out of the workforce while taking care of children or elderly parents. It’s not uncommon for many women to spend years juggling family, professional, and caregiving responsibilities, and as a result, their income is disrupted which hinders their ability to save money or attain financial stability.
3. Shorter careers and lower incomes often result in lower Social Security benefits. According to AARP, the average annual Social Security income received by women 65 years and older was just $16,848 in 2018. Moreover, married women often don’t know that the benefits accrued by their husbands may be reduced if they are widowed or divorced. These factors put many women at financial risk.
Today it’s less common that adult children are expected to become a parent’s full-time caregiver. But even if the willingness is there, the costs associated with caregiving often exceed the financial capabilities of the average family. Women especially need to plan for their future, while including a plan that addresses an extended care situation.
Some form of long term care coverage, either through a traditional product or a hybrid life or annuity product, can efficiently cover future long term care expenses. The insurance is designed to help maintain independence and quality of life while offering increased options for care. Ask me how I can help you navigate through the possibilities.