Do you ever worry about outliving your money? Becoming the proverbial “bag lady under the bridge” is a woman’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, for far too many women, this fear is a rational one.
The good news for women is they live longer and have more time to enjoy their retirement. The bad news: their retirement will be more expensive than a man’s.
Women have more options and assume many more important roles than ever before from caregiver to successful careerist. But by failing to plan for the future, many are unwittingly forfeiting control over their futures to others, including decisions about their long-term care needs.
“Sometimes when we’re farther away from retirement, we’re not thinking of the long-term consequences of the decisions that we’re making,” says AARP’s top volunteer in Delaware, State President Jeanne Nutter, Ph.D. “It’s something you don’t think about until you’re knee-deep in caregiving yourself.”
Indeed, responses from a recent AARP survey of women ages 45 to 64 reveal a disturbing trend:
• Six in 10 women haven’t figured out how they’ll pay for their long-term care needs;
• Forty percent don’t know that long-term care is not merely nursing home care but a combination of services from various sources that will allow them to live as well as possible how and where they want;
• Only 23 percent know that Medicare and private insurance do not pay for non-skilled care and that they’ll need to pay out-of-pocket for future care needs.
Yet long-term care is one of the biggest issues facing women. Consider this:
• Women outlive men by about five years. A woman who reaches age 65 can expect to live an average of 20 more years;
• Women have fewer resources. Their finances often take a hit because of caregiving, divorce, widowhood and job loss;
• Women are more likely to need long-term care than men. Studies show that about 80 percent of women age 65 and over will need some type of long-term care during their lifetime.
Fortunately, there is help. AARP is spearheading the effort to empower women by giving them the information they need to start planning for the future they want and deserve. The Decide.Create.Share™ campaign encourages women to think broadly about their resources and options. Planning early for retirement—and any long-term care they might need—is one of the smartest decisions a woman can make. Learn more at www.aarp.org/decide.