Early retirement saving - Why women struggle to keep up with men

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By: tiarajoseph11
on 20th Aug,2015

Let’s find out why women are falling behind when it comes to save for retirement.
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Since past 60 years, record setting expansion in social/economic life were made by women. Nearly half of the U.S workforce is now comprised of women. In education department, they've also achieved a better position than men in terms of quality and hard work.

Though women have made substantial progress in society and economy, till today, most of them aren't yet ready for retirement. Men and women both are living with common individual and social characteristics. Despite of that fact, women are crawling behind of men regarding retirement savings.

As per the report of “LIMRA”, men's average defined contribution (DC) balance is 40% greater than of women's average DC balance. According to the survey of BlackRock, an asset management firm, women in USA save much lower amount monthly compared to their spouses, and they're also less interested to invest for filling the gap. The report reflected that among 27,000 investors worldwide (4,000 US citizens), 53% of working women have started saving early for retirement.

As per the survey, an average working men keep 59% of their total income in cash. Comparatively, the average working woman allocates 68% of the total income in cash and cash equivalents. These are some low-risk, low-return profiles also, like treasury bills, certificates of deposit and money market funds.

What are the reasons

According to International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans - Professor Olivia Mitchell, said that, there are several simple reasons which compelled women for falling behind of men. Basically, the low income due to minimal time for job is the main problem they've. Keeping up with the family issues is the main cause which prevent them to engage more time in work place. For working women, they also have a peculiar tendency to avoid a company-sponsored pension plan or contribute in a pension plan.

She also said about women’s financial education. They're not as good financially literate as men. Mitchell confirms the truth, by giving example through a study in 25 different countries across the globe. She explained that not only in the US but also in several countries, women are lacking in financial senses.

The study reveals that, women around the world is normally attributed as the prime caregiver of the family. Women spend lesser years in job on average compared to the time they spent with family, at home. They tend to sacrifice their professional work by putting their career on hold. If they get interested for job, that would be only for taking care of old parents or children. So, by having a short job experience and lesser time in work place, they are not eligible for employer’s aided retirement plans. Mitchell described it as a very serious problem for women, as females tend to live longer compared to males. So, practically they’ll require good savings to manage their family for a long time.

What actual numbers says

*According to an report for “Retirement readiness” in 2015, the Employee Benefit Research Institute revealed a statistics that - Early baby boomer single women are facing a shortfall in retirement funds, approximately for $63,000. On the other hand single men are just having a deficit of $34,000, who belongs to the similar age group.

*Women in the US (age between 55 to 64) have average accumulated retirement funds worth $81,300, way behind from $118,400 saved for retirement by men.

*The women's-to-men's income ratio was 81%, as stated in the report of The Bureau of Labor Statistics' in 2010. However, this ratio doesn't influence the prime contributing factors like:

• Work positions.
• Employment field.
• Working hours.
• Flexibility in shifts or working days.

It's seen that women tend to accept lesser amount as their salary, just to have the flexibility between their job time and the family time.

The solution

By giving encouragement and proper education, the society can change this trend. Every working women should be educated about employer’s retirement plans and they should participate in those plans to save more. Plan with auto-enrollment feature can encourage the women and increase participation.

To increase the financial literacy of a woman, the companies have to make a move for their education. It's essential for a successful retirement plan. According to LIMRA's research, proper financial knowledge can help women to boost on preparedness and to compete with men (with similar financial knowledge) towards retirement planning activities. This finding ensures that women can improve their financial education, and they may become more active in retirement planning activities and ultimately save more.

Nonetheless, as there're numerous ways to spend money, saving is much difficult for both women and men. As per today's retirement savings, working women need to save enough to maintain their family and future expenses. If men and women both gather knowledge on financial education and progress toward retirement saving, then their and the future of their families will be totally secure for sure.

Check out how women should handle their wallet tactfully so that they can save more.

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