Female Execs Fear Retirement Readiness

A survey of career women ages 45 to 70 earning $75,000-plus per year shows that they are highly confident about how to manage money, yet 62% fear they may never have enough to retire.

A news release said the study finds that 46% have a defined benefit plan (more than double those in the general population) and most have 401(k) plans, IRAs and additional savings, but a majority remain concerned about their retirement income.  Their main financial focus at this time is to put more emphasis on guaranteed income for retirement, according to the announcement.

When asked which skills they wish they had more of, the number one answer from 44% of those polled was “business and financial experience.”  Twenty-five percent also say they are confused about how to grow their portfolios.  Thirty-four percent say they lost a considerable amount of their savings when the economy faltered.  Sixty percent feel they have moderate risk tolerance when it comes to investing, even though 32% say their risk tolerance has decreased over the past two years.

Despite their achievements, the “glass ceiling” remains a perceived reality for many of these women (especially those who have not been married) who feel their hard work has not been rewarded in a fashion commensurate with their male counterparts.  Additionally, they express frustration at the demands of juggling work and family.

“This poll indicates that many successful women lack confidence in their financial futures,” said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in the news release.


Household Finances Confidence  

Other findings of the study include:

  • Seventy-eight percent of respondents share responsibility for household finances with someone else in their household.
  • Almost all respondents (90%) are confident in their ability to manage household finances; 41% are very confident.
  • Forty-six percent of respondents report they have coverage by a traditional defined benefit pension plan.  This compares to just 19% of the working population today.
  • Just 18% carry long-term care insurance.

The women exhibit concern about their financial security in retirement.  To address their concerns, 42% are putting more emphasis on guaranteed income for retirement and 27% are saving more.  Twenty-five percent aren't sure what they should be doing.

Seventy-four percent of respondents rate saving for retirement as the most challenging activity they confront; other challenges are juggling work and family (45%) and eldercare (30%).

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey between June and July 2010.  Respondents included women ages 45 to 70 with personal incomes of $75,000 or more, or household incomes of $100,000 or more.  They were also employed full-time, considered themselves professional, managerial/executive, middle manager, or self-employed, and participated in household financial decisions. Generally speaking, those polled were women in professional or middle management jobs with 43% having profit and loss responsibility as part of their job description.  A significant number work predominately in traditional female occupations in education (27%) and health care/social services (18%).