Retirement Savings Biggest Financial Worry for Men

A survey of American workers found both men and women are concerned about saving enough for retirement; however, women are more concerned with monthly expenses. 

The MassMutual Retirement Services survey found that 31% of respondents believe the U.S. will be in a recession in the next 12 months, and 38% are somewhat or very concerned about losing their jobs. Overall, the biggest financial worry is “just keeping up with monthly expenses” (21%), followed by “saving enough for retirement” (18%).

The survey also found distinctions between genders and age groups who took the survey. Saving enough for retirement is the biggest financial worry for men, but women are much more concerned about keeping up with monthly expenses—in fact, more than twice as many women are concerned about monthly expenses than saving enough for retirement.

Respondents under the age of 30 are concerned about saving to buy a home, indicating there is still a “want” for home ownership among younger workers. Keeping up with monthly expenses was the only concern more frequently mentioned.

The top two concerns for people over the age of 60 are “expense of catastrophic illness” and “long-term care for yourself or your spouse when you need it”—two factors that have potential to rapidly deplete retirement savings, MassMutual noted.

Regarding their ability to retire, 35% of respondents are concerned that they’ll have to delay retirement beyond their original target date, and that percentage jumps to more than 50% for people age 50 and older. In addition, 64% expect to work at least part-time in retirement and 54% expect they will need to reduce their standard of living. Women expect to work longer than men, with an average expected retirement age of 66.9 compared to 65.6 for men.

The percentage of respondents who took positive action towards their retirement savings was higher than that of the respondents who took negative actions that could harm their chances for a comfortable retirement. The three most frequently cited positive actions were increasing savings percentages through workplace retirement plans (19%), reallocating existing portfolios (19%), and contributing to a regular IRA (18%). Actions taken that could harm respondents' retirement savings outcome included decreasing contribution percentages in their workplace retirement plan (8%), taking loans (8%), stopping saving in their workplace retirement plan altogether (7%), or making hardship withdrawals (4%).

The nationwide survey was conducted online between June 29 and July 29, 2011, and included 2,170 defined contribution plan participants who are eligible to participate in a 401(k), 403(b), 457, or a similar workplace retirement plan.