Born $849,000 in the hole

Not only can women not “have it all,” but they are born at an $849,000 lifetime disadvantage. They live longer, earn less, pay more for insurance, and take more time off from careers to care for children and aging parents. That’s how AOL’s Nicole Seghetti sees it.

Her breakdown goes something like this:

  • Women live an average of five years longer than men, at a cost of $3,500 a month.
  • A woman who takes two years off from a job paying $40,000 a year loses $80,000 immediately, plus the resulting hit to her savings, retirement plans, and Social Security.
  • With a gender bias built into 90% of the nation’s best-selling health insurance plans, women pay an average of 30% more than men, for a total of $44,000 between college and Medicare.
  • Women are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. In a 40-year career with a $40,000 salary, a woman will earn $400,000 less than a male counterpart.
  • With their longer lifespans, women will also incur more expenses for long-term care and assisted living, totaling an estimated $125,000.

If you want to argue the math, with its many estimates, averages, and assumptions, you’ll have to contact Ms. Seghetti. I’m too depressed to discuss it. And if you haven’t read the Atlantic article I linked in the first sentence, don’t. Between that one (“Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”) and the AOL article, I’m thinking I never had a chance. I just didn’t know it.

5 comments

    1. Some of this can and should change. But women will always be the ones having the babies and may always be the ones who live longer. We can’t change our genes and chromosomes. I may be locked into last-century thinking, but I don’t think men and women will ever be “equal” and I’m not sure I’d want them to be.

      1. As you say, PT, there are fundamental differences between the sexes, physical, hormonal, and I used to believe, emotional. Are not women the kinder, gentler, more nurturing sex? But now that women are openly competing in the business world, I’m not so sure any more. Heart disease used to be the bane of men primarily, but that has changed with women’s heart attacks becoming much more common, apparently because of increased stress from their changed lifestyles. Maybe under those pretty exteriors lie just as much drive, ambition, vanity, and competitiveness as any man has. And not only that, but by demanding both roles, mother and breadwinner, I suspect the woman may encounter even more stress than men. I’ve had the thought that women really ought to choose one role and stick with it, but then, that wouldn’t be very human. Both sexes are alike in competitiveness – we didn’t get to the top of the food chain by being wusses.

        1. The Atlantic article (said to be their most widely read ever), while I thought it overly long, laid out the situation very well. It is unrealistic, and always has been, for women to think they could have careers, marriages, children, equal pay, etc. without sacrificing one or more of those things, although the author allowed that a very few superhuman, extremely driven women might come close, I doubt there are very many women like that around. There simply aren’t enough hours in a day, or years in a lifetime, to be everything a man is and have and raise children. That’s not being equal; that’s being superhuman.

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