We know that women take a salary hit for taking time off to raise kids. We know women pay more to dry-clean even very basic items like white shirts. Now AOL’s Motley Fool takes a closer look at some of those numbers and adds them all up into one horrifying figure: It costs $849,000 over the course of a lifetime just to be a woman.
Here are some of the reasons why:
– Women usually pay about 30% more than men in health-insurance premiums. The gap adds up to about $44,000 between college graduation and Medicare eligibility.
– Women take more time away from work, and it’s not just to have children. Women also step away to care for elderly parents, for example. If a woman making $40,000 takes two years off over the course of her life, that’s $80,000 gone — and less Social Security to show for it, too.
– Women live an average of five years longer than month. Estimating $3,500 a month to cover costs, that’s more than $200,000 in extra retirement savings required.
Some of these cost disparities don’t have an easy fix. For example, taking time off work is always going to cost money. (In exchange, of course, you get time with family and other intangibles.) The only way that could become equitable would be if men or the government step in to do some of that care-taking work.
But others are more straightforward, and therefore more straightforwardly infuriating. When Marie Claire looked at the issue of gender disparities in pricing a few months ago, for example, they calculated that American women pay $151 billion in markups a year on everything from haircuts to health insurance. Sigh. How’s that retirement fund coming along?