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First Tuesday -- Can Boomer Women Afford to Retire?

Many boomers, the 77 million or so Americans born between 1946 and 1964, face daunting retirement challenges. Traditional employer-sponsored pensions have been disappearing, replaced by 401(k)-type plans whose payouts depend on unpredictable investment returns. The 2008 stock market crash wiped out trillions of dollars in retirement savings, and the worst housing slump since the Great Depression has suppressed home equity values. Rising health care costs and potential Social Security cutbacks add to boomers’ concerns.

The outlook for women is more uncertain. They still earn less than men, and poverty rates will likely remain high among older widows. Yet, boomer women have worked and earned more than ever before, boosting their retirement wealth. The shift toward 401(k) plans helps women with spotty employment histories, who don’t benefit much from traditional pensions. And men’s growing longevity is reducing the number of widows.

Join our panel of experts as they answer such questions as

- How will boomer women’s retirement incomes compare to those of previous generations?
- How many will see their living standards fall when they retire?
- Will medical and long-term care costs undermine retirement income security?
- How vulnerable are boomer women to potential changes in Social Security and Medicare?



  • Barbara Bovbjerg, managing director for education, workforce, and income security issues, Government Accountability Office
  • Mary Beth Franklin, contributing editor, InvestmentNews (moderator)
  • Heidi Hartmann, president, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
  • Richard Johnson, director, Program on Retirement Policy, Urban Institute
  • Jack VanDerhei, research director, Employee Benefit Research Institute


- Johnson: Boomers' Retirement Income Prospects 
- VanDerhei: Will Boomer and Gen X Women be Able to Afford Retirement at Age 65? Evidence from the 2012 EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model®

Date & Time Tuesday, February 7, 2012

  • Senior Fellow
    Director, Program on Retirement Policy