July 18, 2013

Men More Attentive Savers Than Women

Men also more likely to use financial advisor

Although men and women are both saving for retirement, men are more likely to take it seriously, a survey from MassMutual found.

The survey, conducted by Brightwork Partners for MassMutual, found 30% of men pay attention to fund performance, compared with 22% of women. They’re also more likely to think about their income in retirement (26% versus 18%) and asset allocation (25% versus 15%).

MassMutual Retirement Services surveyed over 2,000 defined contribution plan participants as a follow-up to a 2011 survey and found retirement was the top saving priority among all respondents, with nearly a quarter citing it as their biggest financial worry, up from 18% in 2011. Almost two-thirds called it a major priority. Saving for retirement surpassed meeting day-to-day obligations and paying down debt as respondents’ biggest worry.

In line with that shift in priorities, people are saving more, the survey found, with the average savings rate increasing from 9% in 2011 to 10.5% in 2013.

"The evidence that retirement is on the minds of virtually every American worker is encouraging," Merl Baker, principal for Brightwork Partners, said in a statement.

One possible reason men are paying more attention financial issues is that they’re more likely to have a financial advisor telling them to do so. Overall, use of a professional advisor is relatively low, with just 28% of all respondents saying they currently have an advisor or have used one in the past five years. Furthermore, while 31% of men said they have worked with an advisor, up from 30% in 2011, fewer women said they are working with a financial professional (24% versus 27% in 2011).

Overall, respondents’ satisfaction with their advisors is up markedly. In 2011, 25% of people who worked with a professional advisor said they were “very satisfied” with the information they received. In 2013, that percentage increased to 47%.

As much as their satisfaction with advisors increased, respondents’ satisfaction with their plan sponsors as a source of information fell even more. In 2013, only 10% of plan participants said they were satisfied with the information they received from their plan sponsor, down from 30% in 2011.

The survey also found that respondents feel very strongly about their financial situation: the pessimists are very pessimistic and the optimists are very optimistic. For example, the percentage of people who are “very concerned” about losing their jobs increased four points, while those who are “not concerned at all” increased nine points.

Age is another factor in respondents’ relative optimism or pessimism. Workers over 50 are less optimistic and more concerned about inflation and health care costs than their younger counterparts. They’re also more likely to expect unemployment to go up, both in their communities and the country at large.

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