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Ameriprise Finds Gender Gap in Retirement Confidence, Attitudes

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Women are more likely to look forward to and enjoy retirement than men, a report released Monday by Ameriprise Financial found. As part of its New Retirement Mindscape II, Ameriprise Financial found gender may have a "significant impact" on attitudes toward retirement.

Nearly three-quarters of women said they feel "enthusiastic" about reaching retirement, according to the report, compared with 65% of men. Furthermore, over two-thirds of retired women say they are “enjoying retirement a great deal,” compared with 56% of men.

In spite of this gap in enthusiasm, men are more likely to say they are "on track" or "confident" about retirement than women. Fifty-six percent of men said they were on track for retirement, compared with 49% of women. While confidence is low overall, 23% of men said they were confident about their retirement, compared with 17% of women.

Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial, suggested the recession's impact on men could be responsible for the disparity in optimism.

“While the recession impacted both men and women, men experienced more job losses and career setbacks as a result of the downturn,” she said in a press release.

Women's traditional role as caregivers is one factor shaping their retirement, the report found. In 2010, 28% of retired women said an illness was their "primary retirement trigger," up from 18% in 2005. Comparatively, the number of men who cited an illness as the reason they began thinking about retirement increased only three percentage points from 19% to 22%.

Women are more likely than men to turn to financial professionals for help, the report found, although both groups are more likely to use professional help in 2010 than they were in 2005. Forty-six percent of women said they would use a financial planner, compared with 38% of men. Furthermore, women are more likely to look for educators and coaches rather than planners.

With or without a planner, men are more likely to have a written plan than women, though. Forty-one percent of pre-retired men have a written financial plan, compared with 34% of pre-retired women.

Before retirement, more men expect to continue working once they do retire (38%), compared with 27% of women. Among retired men, 17% are working full time, compared with 6% of women. While 71% of retired women are not working at all, the report found that women are more likely to place a greater importance on maintaining an active lifestyle in retirement. Before and after retirement, women were more likely to place a greater importance on staying healthy, spending more time with family, and doing more "meaningful or satisfying" work.


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