Women Need Retirement Strategies

Nearly half of women (48%) do not have any retirement strategy at all, according to a study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

Slightly more than half of women (52%) said they have some form of retirement strategy; however, only 11% have a written strategy. Of the women who have a strategy, whether it is written down or not, many are overlooking key elements that should be taken into account, the study, “Juggling Current Priorities and Long-Term Security: Every Woman Needs Her Own Retirement Strategy,” found. Only two out of three women (65%) consider ongoing living expenses as part of this plan, and fewer than one in four (24%) factored in costs associated with long-term care.   

Having a longer life expectancy means women need to save more for retirement to cover expenses ranging from cost of living to health care. However, women estimate they will need a median of $500,000 in savings, compared to men’s estimate of $750,000. The majority of women (56%) said they “guessed” when asked about how they arrived at their retirement savings needs.   

Even though their retirement will impact their families, fewer than one in 10 women (9%) frequently discuss saving and planning with family and friends.



Fifty-six percent of women expect to self fund their retirement through 401(k)s, retirement accounts, or other savings and investments, and they want their retirement to include traveling, spending more time with family and friends, and pursuing hobbies, the study found.

However, the majority of women (53%) plan to retire after age 65 or do not plan to retire, and 53% plan to continue working after they retire, including 45% who plan to work part-time and 8% who plan to work full-time. According to the study results, most of these women will do so for reasons related to income or health benefits.   

More than half of women in the study (54%) are “not too confident” or “not at all confident” about retirement, compared to 44% of men. Only 7% of women are “very confident” in their ability to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.   

When asked what would motivate them to learn more about saving and investing for retirement, the majority of women (58%) would like educational materials that are easier to understand and/or a good starting point that is easy to understand. Many women would like advice about their retirement savings, including 51% who seek advice but want to make their own decisions and 19% who want someone else to handle their retirement savings on their behalf. However, only 35% reported using a professional adviser.   

The study outlines key steps that can be taken to help women capture a more secure retirement – steps that call for joint outreach efforts from the retirement industry (including retirement plan providers and advisers), employers, the media, policymakers, and other organizations that are dedicated to helping women achieve a financially secure retirement. This full list of key outreach elements and a series of recommendations are available here.