Women Less Confident Than Men about Retirement

Women feel more overwhelmed, less confident and less in control than men when it comes to financial planning and retirement, a survey by the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company found.

The second annual Worth Survey for Women published by Penn Mutual Life revealed that  fewer women than men report feeling confident (17% of women versus 28% of men), organized (11% versus 19%), and in control (15% versus 22%). Women are more likely to feel overwhelmed than men (22% versus 14%) and are more likely to believe their standard of living during retirement will be lower than today (44% versus 34%).

The survey also found that women have about half the life insurance coverage that men do, with the median individual amount for women being $96,000 as compared to $189,000 for men. This led researchers to conclude that women “undervalue” who they are and the contribution they make to home and family.

The discrepancy in life insurance coverage between men and women is startling because women are more likely than men to value the benefits offered by life insurance, according to Penn Mutual Life. However, fewer women than men acknowledge that life insurance is a viable source of these benefits. For example, 79% of women and 70% of men said a steady stream of income during retirement is important; only 39% of women versus 50% of men reported being aware that life insurance could provide it. Similarly, 70% of women and 64% of men felt it was important to have access to quick cash in the event they need it, yet only 41% of women and 49% of men were aware of the permanent cash value life insurance could provide.

The annual tracking study was conducted by Penn Mutual during March 2010 and included interviews with women and men ages 25 to 64. The sample included women and men across a wide income spectrum, those with and without life insurance, and both married and single parents.