11 August 2008

Boomer Women's Worry

Longevity: A Hard Thing to Appreciate. According to the Society of Actuaries, boomer women nearing retirement are worried—and they are more worried than men. Setting aside the possibility that men and women just naturally worry differently, the Society's 2008 survey concludes that the concern is about longevity and widowhood.

15 Years. For a male-female couple, the gap in longevity is 15 years. That assumes a traditional age difference at marrying and another difference for age at death. Those differences will probably change for younger cohorts as marrying ages are already very different from previous generations. For now, the women in the upper range of the baby boom expect to outlive males by about 15 years.

Another Financial Shift: Boomer women's worry is not characterized as being upset about living alone. The worry is that widowhood will present another change in finances and it won't be a positive one. About a third of boomer women will live to age 90, so a widowhood change in finances could occur at age 75. Forget that we are all prepared to keep working—we weren't planning to do that at 75.

Planning for Longevity: Just to add to the worry, stir in reluctance to talk about it. Americans are not known for open communication about death, so we're not necessarily planning well for such events. "Planning for longevity" doesn't have quite the punch as "planning for widowhood," but it's probably as close as we'll get to addressing the worry out loud.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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