This post was originally published on Yahoo Money.
Women are carrying most of the burden of caring for aging parents, a new study revealed, with implications for their contemporary finances and future retirement.
According to the Nationwide Retirement Institute, almost two-thirds of caregivers are women, who spend 46 hours a week on average when serving as caregivers — compared with 35 hours for men.
While one-third of caregivers Nationwide surveyed did say that caregiving has brought purpose and meaning to their lives, the dynamic creates both financial and emotional stress on females, a Nationwide Retirement representative told Yahoo Finance recently.
“When we think about the disproportionate amount of women who are caregivers, that has a systemic effect, that’s women even taking off in those high earning years to care for those loved ones,” said Kristi Rodriguez, vice president of thought leadership at Nationwide Financial, in an interview with On the Move.
Meanwhile, 83% of the adults Nationwide surveyed agreed with the statement, “I’m afraid that caregiving expenses will keep me from ever retiring.”
Rodriguez said it’s important to start conversations early, and plan for retirement.
“As individuals, it’s also important to have a comprehensive plan,” she said. “Really understand how long, particularly women are going to live and have a plan surrounded around health care costs as well as your long term care costs.”
She added: “Most individuals don’t start saving for retirement until they’re 31. That’s some crucial, critical years that they could have been saving.”