Financial Insecurity is a Major Concern for Women Approaching Retirement

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New NCOA/Ipsos Survey: Rising Health Care & Prescription Drug Costs Top Worries for Aging Women

Arlington, VA —June 18, 2018 — Almost sixty percent of Americans aged 60 and over are concerned that health care costs (56%) and 43 percent are concerned that prescription drug costs are outpacing retirement savings, according to a new NCOA/Ipsos survey. The national survey also finds that women are even more concerned than men about these costs and the potential impact on their family.

“All too often, older women are feeling the very real consequences of the income gap during retirement. After careers of earning less than their male counterparts, women are more likely to face financial insecurity, and this survey shows widespread concern among women, far more than men,” said Anna Maria Chávez, NCOA Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well, in partnership with Ipsos, a leading polling and data firm, released the results today.

“Those results underscore the reality of an uneven playing field for women in the American economy and the economic opportunity cost after years as mothers and caregivers and not wage-earners. However, the ever-rising cost of health care and prescription drugs are a real and imminent threat to a safe, secure, and dignified retirement for aging adults across the country regardless of gender. Those on fixed incomes are even more worried,” added Chávez.

The survey of 1227 adults aged 60 and over conducted between May 29, 2019 and June 14, 2019 found the rising cost of health care and prescription drugs and losing their independence are the top concerns of older adults and a direct threat to a secure retirement:

60 percent of women aged 60 and over are worried health care costs will exceed retirement income

  • 56 percent of Americans aged 60 and over, regardless of gender, are worried that health care costs will exceed retirement income
  • 68 percent of Americans aged 60 and over with household incomes of under $50,000 are worried

46 percent of women aged 60 and over are worried that prescription medicine costs will exceed retirement income

  • 43 percent of Americans aged 60 and over, regardless of gender, are worried that prescription medicine costs will exceed retirement income
  • 54 percent of Americans aged 60 and over with household incomes of under $50,000 are worried

51 percent of women aged 60 and over are worried about outliving their savings

  • 48 percent of Americans aged 60 and over, regardless of gender, are worried about outliving their savings
  • 61 percent of Americans aged 60 and over with household incomes under $50,000 are worried

59 percent of women aged 60 and over are worried about losing their independence

  • 54 percent of Americans aged 60 and over, regardless of gender, are worried about losing their independence and almost half (46 percent) worry about becoming a burden to their families.

52 percent of women aged 60 and over are worried about becoming a burden to their families, a full 12 percent more than men

“Every day, 10,000 people in America turn 65 and nearly half of our population is already over the age of 60,” said Chávez. “From our BenefitsCheckUp® website to falls prevention programs to chronic disease self-management and improving Medicare low-income beneficiary enrollment, NCOA is working with policymakers in Washington and partners across the country to help address these concerns head-on for a growing population of older adults across the country.”

This survey is being released at NCOA’s Age+Action Conference, June 17-20 in Washington, DC. The conference is a premiere national convening focused on ensuring every person’s right to age with their best possible health and economic security. The event brings together 1,000 professionals from across the country who are dedicated to making aging well possible for all.

“Our recent NCOA/Ipsos survey of older Americans finds that most people 60 and older report being pretty happy with their current lives,” reports Annie Weber, Senior Vice President at the research company Ipsos. “That is despite majorities of this group reporting worry about their physical health and their health care costs exceeding their savings.”

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted May 29-June 14, 2019. For the survey, a sample of 1227 adults aged 60 and older from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The poll has a credibility interval plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

About Ipsos
Ipsos is a global independent market research company. Our team of 18,000 across 90 countries serves 5,000 clients and undertakes 70,000 different projects each year. Our polling practice is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,749.5 million in 2018. Learn more at ipsos.com.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.