Retiring as a Homemaker

You’ve raised a family, so why do you need to worry about retirement?

The term “empty nest syndrome” describes parents whose children finally head off to college or career, leaving behind a quiet house and lots of free time. For a parent who stayed at home helping raise those children, you may want to add a new term: “empty nest egg syndrome.”

With retirement becoming a global problem – Consolidated Credit reported this summer that more than 60 percent of employees worldwide “are currently not saving for retirement at all” – it’s now spread beyond the traditional worker. It now affects traditional homemakers.

 
“It is a myth that only workers retire,” says Catherine Collinson, president of Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, which recently studied the issue. “Homemakers also need to plan and prepare for financial security in old age. For everyone, and especially homemakers, a separation, divorce or loss of a spouse or partner can be devastating both emotionally and financially.”

In fact, homemakers might be at greater risk of retiring unprepared. “Because their work is unpaid and comes without employer or retirement benefits, homemakers face even greater retirement risks than workers due to their reliance on others for income,” Collinson says.

Researchers in her organization polled 1,600 self-described homemakers in 15 countries. They learned some fascinating facts. For instance, while men as homemakers are much more common than in past decades, they still represent only 19 percent of Americans. However, it’s still a desired goal even in this modern era – 46 percent of Americans say their profession is “homemaker.”

Making retirement work

While homemakers lack such lucrative benefits as 401k plans with employer matches, they can still avail themselves of all the other proven retirement-savings tactics.  You can find those in Consolidated Credit’s Making Effective Plans for Retirement section. If you’ve run up your credit card bills or other debts taking care of your family, the first piece of expert advice is: Eliminate the red so you can retire in the black. You can get a free debt analysis from a certified credit counselor by calling .