The Heinz Family Philanthropies, in partnership with the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, has issued a free online book called What Women Need to Understand About Retirement.

“Today we are offering a free online publication to help ensure that all Americans have access to sound financial planning advice that is often too expensive and out of reach for working families,” said Jeffrey R. Lewis, chairman of the institute. “In particular, we are targeting women with this free book with the understanding that women often sacrifice retirement planning as the result of their traditional roles as mothers and family caretakers.”

The book was written with financial concerns of women in mind. In particular, according to the two groups, two-thirds of working women earn less than $30,000 a year and the employers of nearly half don’t offer any 401(k) plan.

In retirement, women have significantly less than men to live on; the median income in 2004 for retired women was $12,080, compared to $21,102 for men. And for nearly one-third of non-married women over the age of 65, Social Security is their only source of income.

“Over the years, we have found that most people, and most women, simply don’t have enough information about how to build a secure retirement,” said Teresa Heinz Kerry, chairman emeritus of the institute. “While there are no quick fixes or simple solutions, the road to financial security begins with the understanding of why and how you need to plan for your retirement.”

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