Key takeaways

  • From potentially fewer years in the workforce to a longer life expectancy, there are unique challenges women encounter that can affect their ability to work toward their retirement saving goals.

  • Accounting for these challenges in your financial plan can help you approach retirement with confidence.

Quite simply, women now earn, control and inherit more money and assets than ever before.

  • Women make up 57% of the U.S. workforce.1
  • Thirty-one percent of all U.S. adults who are single, and 62% of single women are not looking to be in a relationship.2 
  • Women control up to 80% of all household purchases in the U.S.3
  • Women are more likely to give to charitable organizations, and give higher amounts, than men.4
  • Women are set to inherit the largest share of family wealth when approximately $30 trillion will be passed on from spouses and aging parents.5
  • Women outlive men by an average of 5.7 years,6 and many can expect to assume control of the estate they shared with their spouse.

Women now earn, control and inherit more money and assets than ever before.

Even as women gain more control and confidence over their finances, they continue to face challenges in saving for retirement. 


1. Finding balance between career and caregiving

Statistics show that 23% of adults in the U.S. are part of the “sandwich generation,” squeezed between the competing financial, physical and emotional needs of children and aging parents.7
Women are more likely to take on the primary responsibility of caring for children or aging relatives—going in and out of the workplace or sometimes having to make the difficult decision to leave work altogether.

Leaving work for a time and putting your career on hold can potentially move you off a promotion track. It can also mean a loss of benefits or a 401(k) employer matching contribution. On the other hand, choosing to stay home may save your family money that would otherwise be spent on outside care.

These realities come with a myriad of trade-offs, which in turn can impact saving for retirement. Read more about what to consider before leaving the workforce.


2. Minding the gender pay gap

On average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earn just 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man.8 Over the course of a person’s work life, this can add up to a loss of more than $590,000 in income earned by a woman.9 The gap is even wider for women of color.

While women also engage with their money less than men, the pay gap plays a large part in why women face such significant financial challenges, particularly in saving for retirement.


3. Longer life expectancy

Women generally live longer than men and are enjoying longer lifespans than at any time in history. A woman who reaches age 65, on average, can expect to live another 20 years, and one-third of women age 70 can expect to live into their 90s.10

As a result, your money may need to last for 20-30 years longer in retirement than previous generations. Even with modest annual inflation of 3%, daily living expenses such as housing costs, utilities and household expenses will double in less than 25 years.


4. Managing healthcare costs

One of the most critical aspects of retirement planning is to realistically assess the potential of future healthcare costs.

The average woman faces an annual cost of $16,992 for healthcare expenses at age 65. By age 85, the cost doubles to $34,300 per year.11 These costs are only likely to go higher. By one estimate, the cost of healthcare will rise at an annual rate of 5.5% over the 10-year period ending in 2027,12 which generally exceeds the broader inflation rate experienced in recent years.

While you become eligible for healthcare coverage under Medicare at age 65, it’s important to remember these important facts:

  • Some aspects of Medicare require premium payments.
  • Medicare does not cover all typical medical expenses, and you may want to consider purchasing supplemental health insurance in addition to Medicare.
  • Most forms of Medicare coverage don’t cover dental work, eyeglasses or expenses related to stays in a long-term care facility

Find out if you’re ready for healthcare costs in retirement.


It’s time for a plan

When considering your retirement savings strategy, it’s important to account for the challenges you may face on the way to and in retirement.

Learn how we can help you clarify your vision and plan for retirement.

Related articles

6 retirement planning steps for women

A comprehensive financial plan can help you approach your retirement with confidence.

Financial planning tips for the sandwich generation

Three tips on how to keep working toward your financial goals while supporting your children and aging parents.


Start of disclosure content
  1. Women in the labor force. The FRED Blog.

  2. Brown A. A profile of single Americans. Pew Research Center. August 20, 2020.  

  3. “Giving while female: Women are more likely to donate to charities than men of equal means,” The Conversation, February 28, 2021.

  4. Women as the next wave of growth in US wealth management,” McKinsey & Company, July 29, 2020.

  5. Facts About the State of the Gender Pay Gap. U.S. Department of Labor Blog, March 19. 2021.


  7. National Health Expenditure Projections 2018-2027. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Start of disclosure content

Investment and insurance products and services including annuities are:
Not a deposit ● Not FDIC insured ● May lose value ● Not bank guaranteed ● Not insured by any federal government agency.

U.S. Wealth Management – U.S. Bank | U.S. Bancorp Investments is the marketing logo for U.S. Bank and its affiliate U.S. Bancorp Investments.

Start of disclosure content

U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Investments and their representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Each individual's tax and financial situation is unique. You should consult your tax and/or legal advisor for advice and information concerning your particular situation.

This information represents the opinion of U.S. Bank and U.S. Bancorp Investments and is designed to be educational and informative. The views are subject to change at any time based on market or other conditions and are current as of the date indicated on the materials. This is not intended to be a forecast of future events or guarantee of future results. It is not intended to provide recommendations and/or specific advice concerning retirement accounts or investment planning. It is not intended to be construed as an offering of securities or recommendation to invest. Not for use as a primary basis of investment decisions. Not to be construed to meet the needs of any particular investor. Not a representation or solicitation or an offer to sell/buy any security. Investors should consult with their investment professional for advice concerning their particular situation.

Start of disclosure content

For U.S. Bank:

Equal Housing Lender. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC. Mortgage, Home Equity and Credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice.

U.S. Bank is not responsible for and does not guarantee the products, services or performance of U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.

U.S. Bank does not offer insurance products. Insurance products are available through our affiliate U.S. Bancorp Investments.

Start of disclosure content

For U.S. Bancorp Investments:

Investment and insurance products and services including annuities are available through U.S. Bancorp Investments, the marketing name for U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC, an investment adviser and a brokerage subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp and affiliate of U.S. Bank.

U.S. Bancorp Investments is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as both a broker-dealer and an investment adviser. To understand how brokerage and investment advisory services and fees differ, the Client Relationship Summary and Regulation Best Interest Disclosure are available for you to review.

Insurance products are available through various affiliated non-bank insurance agencies, which are U.S. Bancorp subsidiaries. Products may not be available in all states. CA Insurance License #0E24641.

Pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, U.S. Bancorp Investments must provide clients with certain financial information. The U.S. Bancorp Investments Statement of Financial Condition is available for you to review, print and download.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 2267 provides for BrokerCheck to allow investors to learn about the professional background, business practices, and conduct of FINRA member firms or their brokers. To request such information, contact FINRA toll-free at 1-800‐289‐9999 or via An investor brochure describing BrokerCheck is also available through FINRA.

U.S. Bancorp Investments Order Processing Information.

Municipal Securities Education and Protection– U.S. Bancorp Investments is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). An investor brochure that describes the protections that may be provided to you by the MSRB rules and how to file a complaint with an appropriate regulatory authority is available to you on the MSRB website at