Women in the Big Apple have a lot to carry on their shoulders, and one recent survey found that it doesn’t get any easier in retirement.
Nonprofit AARP released a report on Tuesday which revealed that women across New York State — categorized as Generation Xers and baby boomers — are less prepared for retirement compared to their male counterparts.
And although the difference is seen across the state, the report found that women in New York City — who last month were already reported to make $5.8 billion a year less than men — primarily feel a larger gender gap in retirement.
“We all know women don’t get equal pay for equal work, and this survey shows that the gender gap exists in preparing for retirement too,” said Beth Finkel, state director of AARP in New York State. “And as fewer companies offer retirement plans to their employees, it will be harder and harder for women to catch up.”
The report was based on an AARP-commissioned survey of 800 women between 35 and 69 years old statewide and 800 in New York City that found women, by about 10 percentage points more than men, feel they are not saving enough money, not planning enough for retirement, and are carrying some sort of forms of debt such as student loans.
According to the analysis, statewide, 57 percent of men get their largest share of income from retirement savings plans compared to 39 percent of women. On a city level, the percentages drop to 53 percent and 29 percent, respectively.
In New York City, 56 percent of women get their largest share of retirement income from Social Security, compared to 29 percent of men.
Some key causes for the gap, according to AARP, include women being more likely than men to work part time or take out time from work to care for children or other family members.
Across the state, 23 percent of women — and 27 percent in New York City — carry a student loan for either themselves or children, compared to 17 percent and 20 percent, respectively, for men.
A total of 48 percent of female baby boomers in the city said they have sacrificed retirement savings to pay for children’s education, compared to 37 percent of men in the same generation.
The study also found that women in the baby boomer generation are twice as likely as men in the same age range to be unemployed but not retired.
Another cause of the gender gap, according to the report, is that women live longer than men by an average of five years and are also less likely to find jobs later on in their life, both causing them to expand their retirement assets.
In order to help New Yorkers get the chance to save for retirement, AARP also said it supports the current state legislation called “Secure Choice” which would establish a state-facilitated, payroll deduction savings option for those who can’t get a pension or 401(k) at their jobs.
“Secure Choice would especially help women, since they’re already at a disadvantage,” Finkel said. “And in the end, it would benefit all of us by helping more New Yorkers build a financially secure retirement and reducing their dependence on public assistance in the future.”