Women Could Face More Savings Shortfalls than Men

Hewitt Associates research said that not only will women need more retirement savings than men, but the gap between what they need and their savings is greater than the gap for men.

The study said both women and men are on track to replace 85% of pay at retirement, assuming average life expectancy; however, women need to replace 130% of their final pay, while men need to replace 123% of pay at retirement. When factoring in differences in longevity, the gap of unpreparedness grows even greater for women, a press release said.

Hewitt claimed the average women will need to save 2% of pay more than men to have the same standard of living in retirement. It noted that not only do women make less on average than their male counterparts, but they are expected to live an average of three years longer than men.

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Other factors contributing to a lack of retirement readiness for women is they save less than men and invest less aggressively. The Hewitt research found the average 401(k) plan balance for women is $56,320—nearly $47,000 less than the average for men—and women contribute, on average, 7.3% of pay compared with 8.1% for men. Additionally, 30% of women did not contribute to their 401(k) plans in 2007, and another 24% did not contribute enough to get full company match.

Women invest less in riskier investments (65% verse 71% for men), and they are half as likely as men to make trades (13% verse 24%).

In addition, Hewitt noted that women wait two to four years longer than men to start saving for retirement, and are more likely to move in and out of the workforce, making their savings patterns “spotty.”

See also:Women Start Planning Early for Retirement, Women Look to Advisers, Internet for Financial Information