All mothers are working mothers.
A study by financial institution ING called Retirement Revealed reported that women are significantly less prepared for retirement than men. Men have saved an average of $149,000 for retirement (among those who have savings inside or outside of employer-sponsored retirement plans). Women averaged $108,000 in total savings. For women with children at home, retirement savings was $88,000.
Coming as it did the week before Mother’s Day, the study struck a chord. As a near-boomer myself (I was born just a few months too early), in my lifetime there have been many changes in cultural and financial mores for working women. After “Rosie the Riveter” powered the factories to supply the military for World War II, society changed to a family structure with many traditional working fathers and stay-at-home mothers raising children. As boomers took hold and changed America starting in the 1960s, women headed to the workplace in droves in the 1970s.
Women may have less saved for retirement than men simply because they have “stopped out” of the workforce for a number of years in favor of the duties and joys of Motherhood. Divorce, too, has taken its toll on women’s retirement savings as they often have to feed, clothe and shelter themselves and children without the benefit of a second salary from a spouse.
Mothers take care of so many things in the world. Judging by the numbers, they also need to take better care of their own retirement.
The good news is that women now have greater freedom in the workplace and the economy than ever before. Women have more capabilities and flexibility to start businesses, opt for non-traditional retirement approaches, and pursue flexible work arrangements.
A Mother’s work is never done. And neither are the changes in the workplace finished.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love.
— Mildred B. Vermont
— Sharon Emek, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO