Charitable Giving: Women and Men Give Differently in Retirement

Jun 18, 2019 Share This 

Charitable_Giving_in-_RetirementIf may be no surprise to read that overall spending of men and women in the five years before and after retirement declines by an average of 16%. You’ve likely heard that from your clients at some point. Even with that overall spending drop, a household’s charitable giving remains steady, according to a report by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI).1

What may be surprising is that retired single men give differently than retired single women and married couples. The amount these men give, and even the likelihood of them giving at all, varies quite a bit from year to year.1

Volunteering follows similar patterns to charitable giving. Retired single women and married couples are more likely to volunteer their time and do so more consistently than retired single men. The only group that increases volunteering is retired single women.1 Again, likely not a big surprise.

Patterns Don’t Break

How women and men give to charity in retirement appears to be a continuation of patterns that they established earlier in life. Who gives to charity… 

  • Before retirement: 77% of single women; 66% of single men1
  • After retirement: 76% of single women; 67% of single men1

With around 10,000 people reaching age 65 every day in America (which will continue through 2030), that means 15% of the total population is now 65+.1 That number will rise to 20% by 2040.2 Looking even further into the future, by 2060 the number of Americans age 65+ will nearly double to 98 million people.2

Now, consider how long these retirees are expected to live. According to a report by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), women who reached age 65 in 2016 can, on average, expect to live to age 85.6; for men it’s 83.2 That’s nearly two decades of post-retirement charitable giving for men and over two decades for women.

What this Means for Advisors

The WPI report also revealed that retired single women and married couples have less financial confidence upon entering retirement than retired single men. So, they wish to continue charitable giving, but they’re not sure they should because they could use up retirement savings and outlive their money.3

There are careful ways to donate to charity without worrying about running out of money, and advisors can help.

A portfolio plans to supply an individual with retirement income for life. Monthly retirement paychecks are guaranteed for a lifetime, and they can be supplemented with yearly or monthly retirement bonuses that can fund charitable giving.3

Also, using a traditional IRA is an option for charitable causes. A qualified distribution is not included in taxable income, and it applies towards the minimum required distribution.3

Begin the Discussion

As an advisor, you’re a valuable source for financial advice. When you approach the subject of charitable giving during retirement with your clients, you’re saying that you understand their priorities, and you have options to ease their minds. 

Other financial decisions can bring up emotions and affect how people react. An Advisor’s Guide to Behavioral Finance explores clients’ motivators and helps advisors provide full client value. Click the link below to access your copy.

An Advisor’s Guide to Behavioral Finance


1ThinkAdvisor, Men and Women Give Differently in Retirement, August 2018

2AARP, By 2040, One in Five Americans will be over Age 65, May 2018

3Third Act Retirement Planning, Charitable Giving and Retirement, September 2018


Topics: Retirement Planning