Did you know that women retire with 30% less on average? That’s right.
And get this, data shows women earn an estimated 83 cents for every dollar earned by men. That adds up to a $10,435 gap in median wages every year!
A full-time, working woman will have lost out on $417,400 of income by the
end of her career. But that’s not all. The Center for American Progress
calculated how the missing wages could affect women’s ability to save for
retirement. Assuming a 6% annual rate of return, the group found that
investing just 20% of those earnings could yield an additional $323,000 in
retirement savings. If all of the money were invested, it would boost
retirement savings by $1.6 million. That’s a lot of money.
Passion, Purpose, and Style
To spotlight the 30% retirement income gap between men and women,
Caribbean American Brooklyn-based designer Fe Noel created a powerful,
inspiring fashion statement—the Dre$$. This stunning one-of-a-kind couture gown is made up of artificial bills to symbolize the potential $1.6 million women lose out on in retirement savings.
The perfect partner to shine a light on TIAA’s mission to close the 30%
retirement income gap to life, she holds a degree in finance and is the
founder of the Fe Noel Foundation, which aims to help young female
entrepreneurs. “Being a fashion designer was always more than making
beautiful clothes,” she says. “I wanted to make women not only feel
beautiful, but powerful. And if we have retirement inequity, it’s harder to do
ESSENCE Fashion Designer of the year, Fe debuted The Dre$$, her first
couture piece, at her SS23 NYFW show. Fueled by her passion for fashion
and helping women, it was concepted and designed by Fe—with each
individual bill handsewn to the gown, click here to see the behind the
scenes video of the making of The Dre$$.
The DRE$$ at ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ presented by Coca-Cola®
Attendees at ESSENCE Festival of Culture got the chance to meet Fe and see The Dre$$ in person at TIAA’s Legacy Makers Studio. Visitors experienced Fe’s studio space, where they saw first-hand how The Dre$$ has raised awareness for the retirement gap in a stylish way. Visitors also scored custom tote bags designed by Fe.
Throughout the weekend, visitors of TIAA’s Legacy Makers Studio also had the opportunity to dance with choreographer Sean Bankhead, take star-worthy selfies with hip hop icon Wyclef Jean in his mini recording studio, and meet Lynnette Khalfani-Cox while leaving their mark on the LKC Legacy Wall and reflecting on their own dreams for the future.
In addition to closing the 30% gender retirement gap, TIAA is also focused on the 54% of Black Americans who, due to a system of inequities, don’t have enough savings to retire. So if you want to know where you stand for your retirement, just click here—TIAA can help you see where you are and help you plan for where you’re going.