So We're Going to Be Old, Sick AND Broke?

In 2004, I did a story for PBS about female voters and what they were concerned about. It wasn't abortion, or family values, or even education. All the old chestnuts didn't even come close to the troubling issue of the economy. These women, many of whom had retired parents and kids about to go to college, worried about how they were going to do it all. The news just got worse for them. We all know women, on average, out-live men. Well, now we know that women are also out-living their retirement accounts. At a time when the country is going to start grappling with what entitlements really mean--and what should be cut--let's take a quick look at this item from the Springfield News-Sun:

Since women tend to live more years in retirement than men, they have a greater chance of exhausting all sources of income except Social Security, said Doug Nguyen, the Social Security Administration’s deputy regional communications director for six states, including Ohio.

In Ohio, Social Security dramatically reduces poverty rates for women 65 and older from 53 to 10 percent, according to the National Women’s Law Center. The poverty rate for male senior citizens is 6 percent in Ohio, but it would be 44 percent without the program.

And then, there's this: "Hounsell, with the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, said many women do not financially prepare for retirement, but even those who do often only save in expectation of living to 80 or 85. She said this means they run the risk of going broke when they live into their 90s or beyond. 'Women live longer and have chronic illnesses that are far more expensive,' she said."

The fact is, Social Security needs to be, and will be, revamped--along with other entitlement programs. Meanwhile, Jezebel suggests taking a few moments to figure out how much you need to save for retirement with this handy financial calculator. I found out that I need to save nearly $2 million (you may have heard the scream as I nearly fell off my chair), which certainly takes the appeal out of entrepreneurship.

--Michele Mitchell