On Apr 8, 6:14 pm, "Elizabeth Richardson"
some analytical insight into these issues.
401(k) Plans and Women: A "Good News/Bad News" Story
Why Are So Many Older Women Poor?
by Alicia H. Munnell*
Why Do Women Claim Social Security Benefits So Early?
by Alicia H. Munnell and Mauricio Soto*
For full paper in PDF format, click here (60 KB).
If individuals continue to withdraw completely from the labor force in
their early 60s, a large and growing number will be hard pressed to
maintain an adequate standard of living throughout retirement.
Economic and demographic pressures are gradually eroding key sources
of retirement income at the same time that increases in life
expectancy mean that people can expect to live for 20 years, on
average, after they stop working. And averages do not tell the whole
story. Nearly one third of women and almost one fifth of men will live
into their 90s.
One would think that the higher benefits are particularly important
for women, who on average have much longer life expectancy.
Unfortunately, women, even more than men, tend to claim Social
Security benefits as soon as they become available. The question is
This brief summarizes the incentives facing older women when claiming
their Social Security benefits. The analysis shows that single women
and married women face very different choices. For most married women,
the Social Security benefit structure actually encourages them to grab
their benefits as soon as possible. These incentives reinforce the
tendency for wives, who are usually younger, to retire when their
husbands do. Early claiming may maximize the wife's Social Security
"wealth," but it also encourages them to stop working, creating a loss
of earnings and 401(k) savings and extending the period over which
they need support in retirement.