Many Americans agree that it now requires a six-figure wage – at least – to cope with today’s rising prices and economic uncertainty.
Still, 72% of six-figure employees are men, according to a recent report by MagnifyMoney, based on an analysis of data from the US Census Bureau. For every woman who earns at least $ 100,000, 2.5 men do, according to the report. Meanwhile, 57% of workers earning less than $ 25,000 a year are women.
Women are disproportionately over-represented in low-wage and part-time jobs and under-represented in the highest paid positions, MagnifyMoney found.
“Women always play catch-up,” said Ismat Mangla, MagnifyMoney’s CEO.
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“They carry the bulk of low-wage jobs, and the low wages translate into a lifetime where they are lagging behind when it comes to building financial security,” she added.
The pay gap between the sexes has been remarkably stubborn for decades.
During the pandemic, women were heavily employed in many of the frontline industries hardest hit. And in these sectors, women were more likely to be laid off or voluntarily retire from the workforce to take care of children.
The difference continues despite women’s rising levels of education and is even growing among high-income workers.
MagnifyMoney found that 72% of those earning at least $ 100,000 are men, while 28% are women. But among those earning at least $ 200,000, 78% are men and only 22% are women.
“The highest earners in our society are men, which means they are capable of building wealth in the long run,” Mangla said.
This is most evident when it comes to retirement savings.
By the time they retire, women have about 30% less savings, according to a separate report from the TIAA.
Additionally, “women retire on average two years earlier and live on average five years longer than men,” said Shelly-Ann Eweka, senior director of financial planning strategy at TIAA.
To give your retirement savings a boost, you should always contribute enough to get the full employer match and consider opting for an automatic escalation feature if your employer offers it. This will automatically increase your savings rate by 1% or 2% each year.
A tax refund can also be an option to supplement your retirement savings with a lump sum.
Most experts recommend meeting with a financial advisor to support a long-term plan. There is also free help available through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.