Writing at Women’s eNews, Sarah Seltzer draws attention to the "retirement gap":

On Oct. 16, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, a schoolteacher from New Jersey approaching her 62nd birthday, filed for Social Security retirement benefits.

Marking the start of a wave of boomer retirements — thousands could apply for Social Security daily over the next 20 years — the much-publicized event spotlighted an issue that quietly threatens U.S. women: tiny incomes in old age and a heavier dependence on Social Security.

About 71 percent of older Americans living in poverty were women in 2003, according to the Population Resource Center in Washington and Princeton, N.J. Currently, more than half of Social Security beneficiaries are women, and women are an even greater proportion of beneficiaries over the age of 85.

That means women in Casey-Kirschling’s generation can be expected to depend disproportionately on Social Security and to increasingly join men in working longer in paid employment.

Meanwhile, the presidential candidates are rolling out proposals to help people save for retirement, but so far none has come up with a program that focuses on women and the retirement gap, writes Seltzer.

The story also notes that the Washington-based Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, or WISER, and the Heinz Family Philanthropies have launched WomensRetirement.org, at which you’ll find an e-book with step-by step advice and instructions on what women need to know about retirement and planning their financial futures. Click here to download the book (PDF).

Christine

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