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Jun 12, 2024

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Unique Challenges For Women Investors

Due to a number of gender-based challenges, women may be playing catch-up when it comes to investing for retirement and other long-term financial goals.

More than half of women surveyed recently are the primary breadwinners in their households, and women continue to lay claim to a growing share of the nation’s wealth.1

But even high net worth women cannot escape the gender-based challenges that may hinder their ability to ensure financial security in their later years. Consider the following factors affecting women as they invest for long-term financial goals such as retirement.

The Gender Gap–a Reality Check

•            Income: Women, on average, earn $0.77 for every dollar men earn–a considerable difference over the course of a lifetime.2

•            Employment: Women typically spend more years out of the workforce to care for family members. Studies estimate that 2 out of 3 informal caregivers are women, many of whom are middle-aged mothers with children or adult children living in their households.3 Since traditional pension plans and Social Security benefits are generally determined by years of service, leaving work for periods of time often means lower retirement benefits.

•            Retirement Income: The average annual pension benefit of a woman aged 65 and over is $12,137, compared with $19,557 for the average 65-year-old man.4 Furthermore, only 29.4% of women over 65 receive pension benefits at all.4

•            Longevity: Women tend to outlive men by about five years, and life expectancies continue to rise.5 In addition, according to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2010, women age 65 and over were three times as likely as men of the same age to be widowed (40% compared with 13%), and nearly three-quarters (73%) of women age 85 and over were widowed, compared with 35% of men.6

What does this mean to you? Simply that all women — whether single, married, divorced or widowed — should make investing for long-term financial goals a lifelong endeavor.

1Source: Prudential, “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women,” August 2012.
2Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “The Gender Wage Gap: 2011,” September 2012.
3Source: National Public Radio (, “Discovering the True Cost of At-Home Caregiving,” May 1, 2012.
4Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, “Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income, Among Individuals Age 50 and Over: 2008” (most recent data available). Published May 2010.
5Source: Center for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, October 10, 2012 (based on preliminary 2011 data, most recent available).
6Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2010 (most recent data available).

If you’d like to learn more, please contact Irene F. Stolarz Article by McGraw Hill and provided courtesy of Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor. The author(s) are not employees of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”). The opinions expressed by the authors are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Morgan Stanley. The information and data in the article or publication has been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley. Neither the information provided nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation by Morgan Stanley with respect to the purchase or sale of any security, investment, strategy or product that may be mentioned. Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor(s) engaged The Post Eagle to feature this article. Ms. Stolarz may only transact business in states where she is registered or excluded or exempted from registration Transacting business, follow-up and individualized responses involving either effecting or attempting to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, will not be made to persons in states where Ms. Stolarz is not registered or excluded or exempt from registration. Investments and services offered through Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC. CRC 662744[05/13]