401k Fear: Most Women Foresee Working Past Retirement Age

Report outlines strategies for improving females' financial security

401k, retirement savings, 401k womenThere's hope, ladies.

Retirement isn’t looking so simple for the ladies, according to research by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS). More than half of women plan to retire after age 65—or not at all. Of those, almost 85 percent blame finances.

In a recent report titled Here and Now: How Women Can Take Control of Their Retirement, only 12 percent of women indicated being “very confident” they will someday retire comfortably. TCRS detailed several factors that may contribute to the lack of confidence among others.

“Women continue to earn less than men and, therefore, have less income available to save,” Catherine Collinson, president of TCRS, said in a statement. “Women are more likely to work part-time and, as a result, are less likely to have access to employer-sponsored benefits including retirement benefits. Women often take time out of the workforce for parenting or caregiving, foregoing income and benefits altogether.”

Furthermore, she said, “Statistically speaking, women live longer than men, thereby necessitating that they save for a longer retirement. In combination, these factors can have a compounding effect that severely impedes a woman’s ability to successfully achieve a secure retirement.”

But there is hope, and the report lends guidance. According to TCRS, women can “take control of their retirement” in the following ways:

  • Start a conversation. Only 13 percent of women “frequently” discuss saving, investing and planning for retirement. Open dialogue with family and friends can provide opportunities for new ideas, encouragement and financial support.
  • Stop guessing and start calculating. Only seven percent of women reported using a retirement calculator to determine the amount of money they need to save. Instead, over half estimated and arrived at a median amount of $500,000.
  • Formulate a written strategy. Around 45 percent of women don’t have a retirement strategy at all. Only 11 percent have a written strategy; another 44 have one that’s unwritten.
  • Become familiar with spouse’s/partner’s plan. Just 32 percent of women who are married or living with a partner are “very familiar” with their other half’s retirement plan and savings.
  • Take steps to continue working. Women are being proactive about working longer in the sense that they’re performing well in their current position (57 percent) and keeping job skills up to date (46 percent). But females approaching retirement age could benefit from networking and meeting new people, exploring the job market and availability of positions, and taking classes or learning new skills.
  • Safeguard health. From visiting doctors to eating well and exercising regularly, many women are doing a lot in an attempt to remain healthy. However, only 26 percent consider long-term health when making lifestyle choices, just 23 percent practice mindfulness/meditation, and four percent report doing “nothing” to be healthy.

“Women have made tremendous progress in recent decades. Yet there is more work to be done in terms of overcoming inequalities and helping women achieve long-term financial security,” said Collinson. “This endeavor must be a shared responsibility among individuals, employers, industry and policymakers. Progress that is made can and will transform lives today and for generations to follow.”

1 Comment on "401k Fear: Most Women Foresee Working Past Retirement Age"

  1. An important and informative read!

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