It’s hard not to get a little down about the financial challenges many women over 50 face. I heard a lot about them recently while moderating and attending panels at the American Society on Aging’s (ASA) 2018 Aging in America Conference and the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit in San Francisco.
One session I sat in on, Fifty and Forgotten: A Focus on Wealth and Women in Their Fifties, was especially painful — yet exceedingly important.
There, Kevin Prindiville, executive director of Justice in Aging (a nonprofit legal advocacy group fighting senior poverty) and a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging, painted a somber portrait of poor, older American women. One of his slides: The median income of women 75 and older is about $13,000 less than of older men — $19,043 vs. $32,572.
Highest Poverty Rate: Black Women 65+
Moreover, Prindiville noted, women of color age 65 and older are at the greatest risk of living in poverty. Black women that age have the highest rate of poverty (21%), followed by Hispanic women (20%) and Native American women (19%), roughly double the poverty rate of white women 65 and older (10%).
Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist, recently predicted in The New School Retirement Equity Lab blog that when the next economic downturn begins, older black workers will be disproportionately laid off and experience higher rates of unemployment than older white workers. When unemployment peaked in 2011, black older workers' unemployment rate grew to 10.1%, 3.6 percentage points higher than white older workers at 6.5% — the largest gap in the past 15 years.