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  • Writer's pictureHarry N. Stout

209- How Will The 2020 Pandemic Impact Women’s Retirement?

Written by: Michele Burkholder, Founder of The Burkholder Team

Last March, when the shutdown was first announced due to COVID-19, I never anticipated how long and how big of an impact it would have for myself and my female clients. While many people have been able to survive and even thrive during the pandemic, behind the scenes, the future of many female professionals is now less secure.

According to President Biden’s address to Congress on April 28, 2021, “Two million women have dropped out of the workforce during this pandemic — two million. And too often because they couldn’t get the care they needed to care for their child or care for an elderly parent who needs help.”[1]

An article published by McKinsey & Company on July 15, 2020 says “Women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs. Women make up 39 percent of global employment but account for 54 percent of overall job losses. “[2]

There are so many factors that have gone into the decision for women leaving the workforce. Caring for children, caring for elderly relatives, lack of day care and virtual education to name a few. The immediate financial impact is fairly easy to quantify as it relates to lost salary and benefits. But how about the long-term impact of leaving the workforce for even one year.

Fidelity published a study showing that “After salary or wages, factor in your lost retirement contributions, including any employer match. Then add on potential growth over the course of your lifetime. For example, let’s say a 35-year-old woman making $100,000 takes a one-year break, and then goes back to work at a slightly lower salary. Assuming 4.5% annual growth rate, the lost retirement contributions and earnings at age 67 are estimated to be approximately $212,936. “[3]

While some women have left the workforce by choice (or forced choice), many have also been severed late in their career, forcing them to retire earlier than planned. Finally, the stress of caring for aging family members was heightened by the pandemic. I personally, spent 2020 torn between caring for two aging family members, running a business and anticipating the happy arrival of my first grandchildren. Being a working mother for most of my career, I thought I would have been prepared for this. While I was still able to work, I wasn’t able to give any aspect of my life my full attention. It certainly had an impact on my business and I’m not alone. Many of my peers are in the same boat, caring for aging parents while welcoming grandchildren at the same time.

This month’s article is focused on the impact, next month we will talk about ways to get your financial plan back on track.


Michele Burkholder* is the Founder of The Burkholder Team, a family financial practice whose mission is to Provide Families, Business Owners & Their Employees Optimal Guidance to Help Them Reach Their Financial Goals.

* Registered Representative of, and Securities and Investment Advisory services offered through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC. (HTK). Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. 1847Financial | 161 Washington Street, Suite 700 | Conshohocken, PA 19428 | Phone 610.771.0800 | Fax 610.771.100 HTK is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn Mutual. The Burkholder Team and 1847Financial are not affiliated with Hornor, Townsend & Kent, LLC

For Educational Purposes Only – Not to be relied on as financial, tax, or legal advice. All investing involves risk and no investment strategy can assure a profit or protect against a loss in a down market. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. 3590678RB_May23

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