Single Women Far Behind Retirement Savings Curve

Many single women are ill-prepared and unlikely to achieve a financially secure retirement if they don’t take action now, according to the Ninth Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.

According to the survey, single women estimate needing a median amount of $500,000 by the time they reach retirement – an amount nearly two-thirds of respondents admitted was simply a guess. More than one-third report that they have saved less than $25,000 for retirement, while only one in 10 reports having saved more than $100,000, according to a Transamerica announcement. Only 6% completed a worksheet or calculation, or received their estimate from a financial adviser.

The survey found that single women most frequently cite 401(k) plans and IRAs as their expected primary source of income in retirement, yet only 69% of single women who work full time report that their current employer offers them a 401(k) plan. This can be explained, in part, by the fact that a majority of single women (56%) would prefer a job with a higher salary over one with excellent retirement benefits.

For single women who work part time, the picture is even gloomier: The survey found that 64% of them have no retirement benefits offered to them by their employer, the news release said. As for single women who have access to a 401(k) or a similar employer plan, 70% participate with a median contribution rate of 6%.

“Too many single women are still not saving for retirement and those who are should be saving much more,” says Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in the news release. “For most single women, their current savings rates are unlikely to build a large enough retirement nest egg. It’s important for everyone to conduct a proper analysis to estimate their retirement needs and to create a plan that will help get them there.”

Single women face competing financial priorities, which influence their ability to save for retirement. The majority of single women cite either “just getting by” (33%) or “paying off debt’ (30%) as their greatest financial priority while only 17% cite “saving for retirement,’ Transamerica said.

Further, the survey found that single women frequently (46%) cite “outliving their money’ as one of their greatest fears about retirement.