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Women 65 and older 80% more likely than men to be poor

A new study finds that women have substantially

A new study finds that women have substantially less income in retirement than men. One way to combat that is to start saving before paying off debt. Photo Credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images / Yuri Arcurs

Women are living longer, but often don’t have enough money for those extra years.

A new study from the National Institute on Retirement Security in Washington, D.C., found that women have substantially less income in retirement than men. Women were 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older.

Why are women behind, and more importantly, what should they do about it?

Among the reasons: Women earn 79 cents for each $1 a man makes. They work 12 years fewer than men, mostly to raise kids or care for aging parents.

To bridge the gap:

  • Be aggressive

Surveys show many women feel underpaid. Ask for a raise. Also be prepared to switch careers if needed.

  • Put retirement first

“A bleeding heart can be murder on a budget. Don’t dip into retirement savings for a child’s education,” says Roger Cowen of Cowen Tax Advisory Group in Hartford, Connecticut.

  • Don’t wait to pay down debt before saving

“You don’t have to pay down debt before increasing the amount you save,” says Pamela Yellen, author of “The Bank of Yourself Revolution.” “A woman in her 50s was paying $600-$800 a month more than the minimum on credit cards. By cutting back to the minimum and putting the difference into savings, she could have a nest egg worth about $50,000 more than she otherwise would.”

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