The Growing Financial Crisis For Single Boomer Women Over 65

It’s a beautiful and breezy Sunday on my deck in Galveston, Texas, as I write this. So, why can’t I kick back and enjoy it?

Because I just read an article in Time magazine, “The Next Social Security Crisis – Why American women are bearing the brunt of the retirement crunch.” As a marketer and a supporter of homeless women, I find many reasons for concern – especially when considering the fact that over 5,000 women turn 65 every day in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center.

Here are a Few of the Alarming Stats from Time Magazine.

1. One in three Boomer women is divorced or never married.

2. Half of all elderly women depend on Social Security as their only source of income.

3. On average, women 65+ received only $12,857 a year from Social Security in 2013. (Men averaged $16,590.)



4. The poverty rate for single – never married, divorced, and widowed—women age 65 and older was nearly three times what it was for married women.
And when you segment by race, the stats get even worse for African American and Hispanic women.

Single Women Ages 65+ Living in Poverty

Whites: One in six

African Americans: One in three

Hispanics: One in two

What Businesses Can Benefit from These Staggering Stats? 

Very few! With little to no disposable income, most companies will be hard-pressed to “sell stuff” to single Boomer women over 65 years old. The only businesses I could think of depend on the government as the primary payor – Medicare Advantage insurers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacies, hospitals, home health and nursing homes.

What is the Social Price?

It’s huge! When you must live on $12,857 per year, life is all about sacrificing. Paying for food, housing and utilities can be overwhelming. If you have a serious illness, like cancer, you could lose everything. This is sad and unacceptable. Unfortunately, poverty continues to send women and families into economic chaos.

I’ve seen the devastating consequences of financial restraints up close, having served on the board of a Christian-based homeless shelter for single women and children, for 25 years in Houston, Texas. They receive no government funding. In the last few years, Houston saw the highest job growth in the country. Yet, we were still forced to turn away over 600 women over 50 years of age in the last year because we didn't have room for them. I can only imagine the strain put on less prosperous cities across the U.S.

Another non-profit, Meals-on-Wheels, serves its 60+ population by delivering meals to the home-bound. They recently started the “aniMeals on Wheels” program (food for pets) to combat the problem of needy clients sharing their limited food and resources with their four-legged friends.

What Are the Implications for Marketers?

According to the Time article, the number of women ages 50-59 who are ineligible for spousal or survivor benefits is growing. In 1990, it was 8%. In 2009, it was 16%. 

As marketers of products and services, it makes little sense to target 65+ single Boomer with anything beyond basic necessities. They do not have disposable income. However, we cannot forget them from a social standpoint. 

What Can We Do?

1. Support changing legislation around improving social security payouts in the coming years. 

2. Encourage your aging female friends and neighbors to build savings. Most Boomer women haven’t saved enough for retirement. In fact, American women save far less for retirement than their male peers, according to a 2015 study by asset management firm BlackRock.

3. Support homeless shelters and other non-profit organizations that act as safety nets for some of our most vulnerable and poor Americans – single, aging boomer women.

3 comments about "The Growing Financial Crisis For Single Boomer Women Over 65".
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  1. Arthur Koff from, July 30, 2015 at 12:16 p.m.

    What businesses can benefit and what can we do can both be answered with

    There are many opporunites for women to work from home and earn money after they have "retired" and are on Social Secuirty. While the income from most of these is not great, in additin to Social Secuirty it will increase total income to allow livability.

    We have provided information on hundreds of ways to earn money working at home.

  2. Barbara Morris from Put Old on Hold Journal, July 30, 2015 at 12:47 p.m.

    Arthur, thanks so much for the helpful link. I"m going to include it in my August issue of  Put Old on Hold Journal

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 30, 2015 at 2:48 p.m.

    SO when a polititian wants to privatize social security adding loads of fees for the investment industry, so when he/she wants to kill medicare and social security, when he/she wants to raise the age to 70, when he/she wants to destroy public transportation, when he/she wants food stamps to shrink or kill that program, please remember it can happen to you and your family and friends. BTW, rare few work from home, ligitmate, race to the bottom jobs (employers who can pay less with no benefits) are available to people who are not particularily skilled are available. Note, too, there is a very limited amount of income a person can earn before it touches their social security and then effects taxes to hurt them more than it helps. We must also emphasize that your children will have to learn to fend for themselves. Do not volunteer to give them money or give them money when they ask. If necessary, hire someone for $20 from retired brains to set up your budget.

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