Aging Committee Hearing on Retirement Risks for Women Comes at Critical Time

ASR Women's Groups Submit Testimony in Support of Annuities

Mar 15, 2006, 00:00 ET from Americans for Secure Retirement

    WASHINGTON, March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Women advocacy organizations, members
 of Americans for Secure Retirement (ASR), today told the Senate Special
 Committee on Aging about the particulary pressing challenges women face to
 achieving financial security and independence in retirement.  The groups urged
 the Committee, which held a hearing today on women and retirement, to adopt
 policies that encourage annuitization as a way to help women ensure a steady
 stream of income for life.
     "Whether from increased longevity, varied work patterns, less income or
 lower earnings, women face unique and difficult challenges to achieving a
 financially secure retirement," said Elisabeth Gehl, director of public policy
 for Business and Proefssional Women/USA. "When the first wave of the 77
 million baby boomers begin to retire over the next few years, the economic
 challenges many women already face in retirement will become increasingly
 apparent and the need to address them all the more urgent."
     Because most women will live 20-30 years in retirement and income from
 Social Security and pensions are less and less likely to suffice, more has to
 be done to promote planning and individual savings for women. In 2002, women
 aged 65 and older had a median income from savings of only $1,028 a year,
 which amounts to roughly $86 a month, and only 44 percent of working women
 participate in a pension plan.  While Social Security is replacing less of a
 retiree's pre-retirement income, it is the only source of income for 25
 percent of unmarried women. The average Social Security payment for retired
 women in 2002 was $774 a month compared to $1,006 for men.
     The organizations urged Senators to support tax incentives encouraging
 women and all Americans to use lifetime annuities as a way to secure a steady
 stream of income throughout retirement.
     "Outside Social Security and pensions, lifetime annuities are the only
 vehicles that literally provide a "paycheck for life" and can help women
 ensure a regular source of income to augment Social Security and other savings
 they may have," said Karen Kerrigan, president of Women Entreprenuers, Inc.
 "That's why we urge members of this committee to support the Retirement
 Security for Life Act, and the Flexible Retirement Security Act, which offer a
 strong tax incentive for Americans to use lifetime annuities."
     "ASR commends Chairman Smith and all the Senators on this panel for
 recognizing the scope of the challenges facing women as they plan for
 retirement, and the importance of examining the full range of potential
 approaches that can be tapped to improve retirement security for millions of
 women," Gehl said.
     Americans for Secure Retirement supports legislation introduced by Aging
 Committee Chairman Gordon Smith and Senators Conrad (D-ND), Snowe (R-ME) and
 Clinton (D-NY) called The Retirement Security for Life Act (S. 381) and the
 Flexible Retirement Security Act of 2005 (S. 1359), which would encourage
 Americans to invest a portion of their savings in lifetime annuities to secure
 a guaranteed source of income in retirement.  Under these proposals,
 individuals would not pay federal taxes on one-half of the income generated by
 lifetime annuities. This would result in approximately $5,000 tax savings for
 a typical American in the 25 percent tax bracket.
     The testimony was jointly submitted by Business and Professional Women/
 USA, Women Entrepreneurs, Inc., Women in Farm Economics, and Women Impacting
 Public Policy, members of Americans for Secure Retirement. To view the
 testimony online or to learn more about ASR, please visit

SOURCE Americans for Secure Retirement