Sixty-nine per cent of Canadian women say they make significant financial sacrifices to care for loved ones. This may be putting them at a major disadvantage to men when it comes to saving for their retirement, according to a CIBC survey.
"Women take on the bulk of care responsibilities for children and aging loved ones,” says Kathleen Woodard, Senior Vice President, CIBC Imperial Service. "Making the decision to quit working, reduce hours or forgo career advancement can have a direct impact on savings, so it's critical to put a plan in place and take steps to address any savings shortfall to ensure their own financial security down the road."
Among the poll’s findings, 57 per cent of women say there have been consequences to their career after caring for others. This compared to 45 per cent of men.
Nineteen per cent of women say they have taken an extended absence and 16 per cent decreased work hours to care for others.
Women are nearly three times more likely than men to quit work to provide care (16 per cent, compared to 6 per cent of men.
The survey also found that 30 per cent of women have reduced or stopped contributing to savings as a consequence of caring for others.
On average, women aged 55 and older have put away about $125,000 in personal savings, which is half of what men have saved at $250,000.
Woodward advises women that if they intend to take some time to provide care for a loved one, they should consider how they might split care responsibilities to reduce the economic impact on one caregiver and take advantage of dual employer benefits. "Ramping up on RRSP contributions before your planned time-off or having a spouse contribute to your own retirement savings during the break can also help make up for the lost income," she adds.