The brief’s key findings are:
- Women are spending a growing share of their lives single, so it is useful to consider how their marital history affects their retirement preparedness.
- While married women have much higher household earnings and wealth, they are more at risk of failing to maintain their standard of living in retirement.
- This surprising result is driven by two-earner couples who:
- get less from Social Security relative to their earnings due to the decline of the spousal benefit; and
- save less in 401(k)s since often only one spouse has coverage.
- These findings highlight the need for expanding coverage to all households and underscore the value of Social Security to single women.