Welcome to this week’s edition of This Week in Pensions! This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement. 

Before you dive into our top stories from this week, check out some stories of educators helping their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the top stories from this week: 

Americans were already struggling to save for retirement. The pandemic is making it worse by Samantha Fields. In this article for Marketplace, Fields correctly summarizes why many Americans experienced difficulties preparing for retirement before the coronavirus pandemic: “Over the last few decades, as wages have stagnated, cost of living has soared and employers have moved away from defined benefit pension plans and toward 401(k)s, a growing number of Americans have struggled to save for retirement.” Before the pandemic, according to a study the author cites from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, “Half of all working adults were not saving enough for retirement.” During the pandemic, however, “about 75% of those who’ve lost jobs because of COVID are now at risk of being unable to maintain their standard of living when they retire — a more than 20% increase since the pandemic began.” Policymakers must protect pensions for public employees to ensure that they can retire with dignity during this economic crisis. 

Coronavirus Likely To Widen Gender Gap in Retirement by Carmen Niethammer. In this article for Forbes, Niethammer writes about how the economic downturn is exacerbating the gender gap in retirement. Niethammer highlights that one reason this gap is widening is that women have been disproportionately impacted by the economic crisis compared to men, as globally, “31 million women face potential job loss, compared to 13 million men.” This is because women “are more likely to work in hard-hit sectors, especially the service sector: in human health and social work, women represent more than 70% of workers; in education women make up more than 60% of workers; in arts, entertainment, accommodation and food services the workforce is more than 50% female.” The economic downturn has specifically affected all of these industries, meaning female workers are at a greater risk of becoming unemployed and being unable to put earnings towards retirement. However, as we’ve covered before, a defined benefit pension is one way “female public employees are able to retire with the economic security they deserve after a lifetime of serving the public.” 

Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!