Gender Privilege in Retirement Planning and Saving

TitleGender Privilege in Retirement Planning and Saving
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsScott, MMary
Date Published1997
UniversityState University of New York at Stony Brook
KeywordsAdult children, Consumption and Savings, Healthcare, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction, Women and Minorities

This dissertation combines qualitative and quantitative methods to explore how husbands and wives divide and share retirement planning and saving. The qualitative analysis focuses primarily on testing hypotheses about how class, marital power and gender enactments influence the division of saving and financial planning activities over the lifecourse. Interviews with retired couples and ethnographic data from financial planning seminars comprise the qualitative portion of the thesis. The quantitative sections are based on a secondary analysis of data about 2451 working couples from the 1992 wave of the Health and Retirement Study which tested these hypotheses. The qualitative findings suggest that wives' savings activities--to 'stretch' household resources, like domestic labor--are undervalued. In contrast, husbands' activities--to grow and monitor accumulated reserves--are valued, often eclipsing the labor of other household members. Upon retirement, these male activities become even more salient as they replace male 'breadwinning.' Additionally, in many middle class households, the husband's earnings contribute to 'primary retirement reserves' while wives' earnings are earmarked for 'secondary savings.' The quantitative analysis indicates that balance of marital power (as resource theory suggests) influences which spouse will handle family finances, particularly for black couples. However, wives relatively lower levels of retirement planning and disadvantaged knowledge of discretionary savings reserves can not be explained by the balance of relative earnings

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Women's Studies (0453)

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Short TitleGender Privilege in Retirement Planning and Saving
Citation Key6084