According to research released by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, friends and family are the most frequently cited go-to sources of retirement planning and investing information among women (37%). The problem is that women aren’t talking about it enough; only 8% talk about retirement planning “frequently” and 30% of women “never” talk about it with family and friends.
The majority of women (54%) said they seek advice, but make their own decisions about saving and investing for retirement. Only 31%, however, indicate they use a professional financial adviser. Another 29% are do-it-yourselfers who prefer to do their own research and make their own decisions.
The majority of women (37%) rely on friends and family, closely followed by a financial planner or broker (29%), their retirement plan provider’s website (27%) and financial websites (25%).
When asked what would motivate them the most to learn more about saving and investing for retirement, women most frequently said a good starting point and educational materials that are “easier to understand” (34%).
According to the survey, more than half (53%) of women expect to self-fund their retirement through 401(k)s, 403(b)s or IRAs and/or outside savings and investments; 31% expect to rely on Social Security. Of those women who expect to rely on Social Security, only 14% have “a great deal” of understanding of the benefits, and nearly as many (12%) indicated they have “none.” Additionally, when it comes to retirement investing, the vast majority of women (78%) say they do not know as much as they should.
The majority of women (60%) “guessed” their estimated retirement savings goal. And few women (7%) have a written plan documenting their retirement strategy, while 53% have no plan at all; only 16% have a back-up plan in the event that they are unable to work before their planned retirement.
Few women (22%) are aware of the Saver’s Credit (see IRS Saver's Credit Helps Workers Save for Retirement) and about half (48%) are aware of the ability to make Catch-Up Contributions.
The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies between January 31 and March 10, 2011, among 4,080 full-time and part-time workers, including 1,811 women. For the full survey results, visit www.transamericacenter.org.