How women can trim the retirement savings gap

Women put in a lot of free labor in the form of caring for loved ones — and that is costing them in retirement.

A recent survey by the MassMutual insurance company found that women expect they’ll have a five-year income shortfall in retirement. Men, on the other hand, believe that their income will be enough to meet their needs.

MassMutual, working with Greenwald & Associates, polled 804 preretirees and 801 retirees online in January.

Today in the U.S., women earn about 80 cents to each dollar a man makes.

Couple the difference in wages with the fact that women in the U.S. tend to outlive men by approximately five years, and you can see why their fears of outliving their savings are credible.

Further, nearly 2 in 3 female workers who took family leave were the primary caregiver, according to data from Pew Research Center.

Once a woman has left the workplace to care for others, even temporarily, it’s hard to make up for lost time and earnings when she returns.

“The income often never recovers,” said Teresa Hassara, head of MassMutual Workplace Solutions. “You can’t get back to that income trajectory.”

Here’s what women can do to shore up their savings.

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