Data and Research

Many Women Say They Cannot Afford to Save for Retirement

Forty-four percent of middle-income women say this, compared to 14% of men.

By Lee Barney editors@strategic-i.com | September 07, 2017

Saving for retirement is not economically feasible for 44% of middle-income women, MassMutual found in a survey. 

By comparison, this is the case for only 14% of men with annual household incomes of between $35,000 and $150,000. Thirty-nine percent of these women and 35% of these men say they do not feel very or at all financially secure, and 47% of women say they are not very or at all confident they will be financially secure in retirement. By comparison, 39% of men share these views.

“MassMutual’s research indicates that many women in middle America are falling behind when it comes to preparing for retirement and building financial security,” says Teresa Hassara, leader of MassMutual’s workplace solutions. The data indicates an imperative for financial education for middle American workers, especially women who often face greater financial challenges. Many people realize the need for financial education and say they would appreciate their employers making more such resources available.”

Fifty-one percent of women say they worry at least once a week about money, compared to 45% of men. Seventy-four percent of women say they are not saving enough for retirement, versus 71% of men.

Only 20% of women report having an emergency fund of $10,000 or more, compared to 30% of men. Seventy-three percent of women who are not saving for anything other than retirement say all of their income goes towards monthly expenses and bills. Sixty-two percent of men say the same. Women are also less likely to use any extra money to pay off debt (38% versus 34%). Thirty-three percent of women and 44% of men save a set amount each month.

“Men are more likely to ‘pay themselves’ first, an effective habit for saving money,” Hassara says. “While educating women about effective savings strategies can help, women often face bigger challenges because they are typically paid less than men for the same work. Employers can make a difference in how financially secure their employees fee, not only by offering a broad menu of health and welfare benefits but by offering education programs to help workers make better financial decisions.”

MassMutual’s survey was conducted via the Internet among 1,010 workers.