More than half of U.S. women say they aren’t financially secure, a percentage that increases to 77 per cent among low-income women, according to a survey by Public Opinion Strategies and Lake Research Partners on behalf of the National Council on Aging and the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement.

The survey, which polled more than 1,200 women aged 25 and older, found nearly half said they don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Among low-income women, three-quarters said they don’t have any emergency savings and nearly two-thirds said they aren’t confident they have the information required to plan and save for retirement.

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When considering retirement, the majority of respondents said they’re either worried or uncertain, while a third of low-income women said they’re terrified. The main concerns cited by respondents were the cost of housing, cuts to social security and medicare, not having enough savings to retire and outliving their savings in retirement.

When asked about potential policy solutions that could support women’s financial security, the vast majority cited cost-of-living adjustments to social security benefits that more accurately reflect the cost of housing and health care (94 per cent), followed by tax breaks for family caregivers to help cover out-of-pocket costs (94 per cent) and raising the minimum social security benefit above the federal poverty level (92 per cent).

“When asked why they don’t feel financially secure, women told us they don’t have enough savings, inflation has caused a lot of pain to their wallets and they have debt,” said Bill McInturff, partner at Public Opinion Strategies, in a press release. “Living paycheque to paycheque means that if an emergency were to occur, they would be wiped out financially.”

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