Asian American Women And Retirement

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Even though I don't save anything anyway - unless you count the money in my shoe that I keep just in case I lose all my money at the blackjack table (because apparently that MIT gene skipped me) this article up a Filipina Moms caught my eye on Asian American women and retirement:

Am I saving enough for my retirement? No. Should I be worried? Yes. This Saturday's edition of Bonnie Erbe's PBS show, To The Contrary , had an interesting slant on retirement: the fact that saving for retirement can be especially challenging for Asian-American women. Since we're all familiar with the cultural stereotype of Asians being hardworking, frugal and good at saving, I was surprised to hear that a significant number of Asian American women (28%) rely soley on Social Security for retirement income.

Bonnie Erbe's panel included Former Assistant Secretary on Aging Dr. Jeanette Takamura and Global Summit of Women President Irene Natividad (who is Filipino American), and they spent some time discussing why retirement savings can be an issue for Asian Americans. First of all, we have long lifespans (Asian American women's lifespan is about 86 years, 5 years longer than for white females, and almost 10 years longer than for African Americans). Second, we're women, and women generally earn 70 cents to the dollar as compared to men's salaries in similar jobs. And third -- which I found most interesting -- many Asian American women find themselves in the position of becoming caregivers for their own parents (even as they care for their children), and average caregiver could actually lose as much as $25,000 in Social Security benefits!
I just may retire to Manila too.