Finances and Older Women

The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women has collected a number of general resources for women on financial literacy, but older women have some particular challenges. Elder women are particularly vulnerable to living in poverty. A number of factors affect women's lifetime earnings, their particular questions about Social Security, and retirement savings. Some women may not have previously worked outside the home and find a financial need to do so later in life. In some cases, laws regarding finances may have changed, and it's important to keep abreast of financial news. For some women, money was never discussed when they grew up, and recognizing now when and how to ask for help is crucial.

Women's longer lifespan may mean for some that avoiding long term care and/or having financial strategies in place to fund long term care are central concerns. Other older women may be finding new financial roles for themselves if they unexpectedly lose a spouse to death, illness, or divorce. Information, planning, and taking charge are the best defenses for older women against poverty or financial victimization. Unfortunately, in addition to physical or emotional abuse, some older women are victims of financial abuse. The Iowa Department of Elder Affairs has a number of resources on the legal rights of older Iowans, as well as available services for those in need, like substitute decision making. Financial Safety Planning for Older Women is also available.