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Women Disadvantaged Financially and Personally Due to Years of Caregiving

May 25, 2008
No woman would ever deny care to children, family members or parents. That is because most of us are natural born caregivers. But who cares for us when we are older and need care?

We grow up and have children. Depending on the timing of the blessed event, we have either completed our education and are working in a reasonably well paid job or we had children prior to completing education and beginning a career. Strike one.

From the day we are born we are taught that women grow up, marry and have children. We are brainwashed into believing that this is what is expected of us and this is what will naturally occur. What no one tells us is that by having children and taking ourselves out of the workforce, we willingly give up years of earning, years of contributing to social security and years of contributing to our own retirement and our own independence.

Where are the men all of these years? They are working to protect their own years of earning, contributing to social security and building up a retirement nest egg to take care of them when they retire. No one is thinking of women during this time and of the compensation they are due for making this sacrifice that will affect them when they are older. Society does not address these issues. If they did there would be many less children born today.

So after the children are born, many women re-enter the workforce. Strike two. We fail to realize how difficult it is to regain the same position, income level or status we left. In many cases our skills and education are outdated and the positions we qualify for pay less. In some cases we must return to school to educate ourselves further. Who pays for this?

Additionally, if we have relied on a husband to provide for us during child raising years, and our focus was on children instead of the relationship with our husband, we may be on our way to divorce. Strike three.Now we not only have to support ourselves, we have to support our children, to provide housing, education etc. and our children grow up in a disadvantaged situation.

Life becomes more difficult and more complicated and many women struggle to just get by. This leaves no time for retirement planning, savings and all of the other things men take for granted because they have few, if any, responsibilities. How many women willingly give possession of their children to their husbands during divorce? Not many. How much time do most divorced men spend with their children? Not much. Life becomes a daily uphill battle for women.

Most women at retirement age are at financial risk of not being able to take care of themselves. When you walk into any nursing home in America today, who do you see? You see women. Women live longer than men, earn less and have less income to carry them through retirement years.

If you are a woman, single, married, divorced, widowed, with children or without children you must wake up to the realization that regardless of your current situation you must prepare to take care of yourself financially, mentally and physically. Become more selfish, give up less. Start now. Contact industry professionals who can support you in your desire to become independent. Obtain more education, do more research. Don't be left behind.
About the Author
Pamela D.Wilson, specializes in long term care planning and education for older adults. Contact her at The Care Navigator or visit The Care Navigator Blog for free information
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