Women Have Disconnect in Saving for Retirement

Although a majority of women (72%) say retirement is their primary investment goal, almost half of them (48%) do not participate in a retirement savings plan and 60% said they have not taken the necessary steps to prepare for retirement.

OppenheimerFunds’ 2006 Women & Investing Survey of 500 female and 500 male investors conducted in August 2006 by Insight Express, said women are aware of their longevity risk: more than 70% of women said they expect to live to be 80 or more, and the same number predict they will outlive their spouse (compared with 65% and 40% of men, respectively).

 However, although this awareness exists and studies have shown that about nine in ten women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives, “we … have seen a consistent disconnect between women’s desire to save for retirement and taking the steps necessary to achieve those goals,” said Lauren Coulston, Assistant Vice President, Advocacy and Training Manager at OppenheimerFunds, in a press release about the survey.

 Since they are aware of their need to save for retirement, but many do not, OppenheimerFunds asked women what would motivate them to start saving. Almost half (47%) said that knowing that saving $50 a month over several decades would provide them with more than $500,000 when they retire, 40% said learning how to manage debt better, and 35% cited learning how to cut back on spending, the firm said.

 Although 80% of both men and women survyed say it is necessary to discuss investment decisions with their spouse, and 50% of both genders said they share responsibilities for saving and investing for retirement, 37% of women maintain a separate checking or brokerage account from their spouse. For couples who merge their assets, only 30% said that it is necessary to work with a financial adviser before doing so. “Working with a financial adviser makes women feel more confident about having enough money for the future and generally more knowledgeable about investing. Currently only two in ten women are working with an adviser and we would like to see that number increase,” said Coulston.