GAO Report on Retirement Security – Older Women Facing a Financially Uncertain Future

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging titled, Older Women Report Facing a Financially Uncertain Future.  Part of the impetus for this report was the testimony of WISER Senior Fellow, Linda K. Stone before the Senate Special Committee on Aging in 2019. She testified about the dire situation many older American women face.

Plan Adviser magazine recently covered the report in its article, GAO Finds Women Anxious About Retirement Security.  The article notes that authors of the Older Americans Act included a provision requiring the continued operation of the National Resource Center for Women and Retirement, which WISER has operated for more than 22 years.  The Center provides retirement planning and other educational tools to help women most at-risk for financial insecurity and poverty in old age.

The report outlines the numerous obstacles women face when trying to save for retirement and notes that one of the key issues is that women are over-represented in low-wage professions.

GAO based its findings on 14 focus groups it held in rural and urban areas, primarily among women age 70 and older, as well as the 2019 Current Population Survey; the Health and Retirement Study which is based on data from 2002 to 2014; and the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances. The report was requested by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), Ranking Member of the committee.

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