Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Boomer women and marriage

The Center for Retirement Research asked women about marriage, and I thought the results were very interesting. You can download the full report here

Traditionally, women spent their adult lives married, so it made more sense to study households rather than women separately. The question is whether today’s women are spending fewer years married. The analysis looks at four birth cohorts, ranging from the Depression Era to Mid Baby Boomers.

No matter how you define the age span, the percentage of years spent married has dropped from about 70 percent to 50 percent. The reasons are three-fold: 1) fewer women get married; 2) when they do marry, they get married later; and 3) more women end up divorced.
 Approximately 50% of Boomer women get divorced. Thus, looking at women’s finances separately from men is increasingly necessary for a full assessment of their retirement security.

The bottom line is that women as a group are going to spend less than half of their adult years as part of a couple. This pattern reflects an increase in age at first marriage, a decline in marriage rates, and an increase in divorce. It shows up across race and educational attainment. This change has significant implications for financial planning.

The center for Retirement Research Recognized by the New York Times as “…the nation’s leading center on retirement studies,” their research covers any issue affecting individuals’ income in retirement. Their main areas are: Social Security State and local pensions Health/long-term care Financing retirement; and Older workers

The Center’s work goes beyond economics.  They study the behavioral factors that drive individuals’ decisions so they can craft solutions that work in practice, not just in theory.

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