Only 20 percent of women think they are on track to achieve their required retirement income. And 40 percent state that they don’t know, according to new research.

These findings are revealed in The 2014 Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey, which includes responses from 16,000 employees and retirees in 15 countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Women account for half of all respondents (7,956 in total); of these 62 percent are married or cohabiting, and 52 percent have an undergraduate degree or higher. The report examines women’s retirement outlook worldwide and obstacles may be preventing them from saving sufficiently for retirement.

The report reveals a disconnect between women’s preparedness for retirement and the active role many among they play in deciding questions respecting household finances.

“Women’s lack of retirement preparedness contrasts sharply with otherwise confident and engaged behavior in deciding household budgets,” the report states. “The vast majority of women (80 percent) are actively involved in managing their households’ budgets and finances.

“Women attach a high priority to managing household finances, and this is an area where 71 percent feel financially confident. The need for working mothers to concentrate on short-term finances is clear. Unfortunately, less priority is given to the longer-term need to adequately prepare for retirement.  

The charts on the following page highlight key findings from the Transamerica study. 

Among the report’s other findings: 

  • A quarter (24 percent) of women associate retirement with “insecurity” and almost one-fifth (18 percent) with “poverty”.
  • In some countries such as Poland, Hungary and Japan the level of negative associations with retirement is relatively high. More positive minded women are found in China, Canada and Sweden.
  • The age at which women expect to enter retirement varies by as much as 12 years, according to where they live. On average, women expect to retire at the age of 62.
  • Women expect to retire much later in the United States, around the age of 66, whereas in China the expected retirement age falls to just 53 years. The difference in part reflects the official age at which women become eligible to claim retirement benefits in each country.
  • Expected replacement income needed in retirement varies by 27 percent among women across the countries in the survey. Women in Hungary, for example, think they will need to replace up to 86 percent of their current earnings. This falls to 59 percent of working-age income among women in India.

Chart 1: How confident are you that you will be able to fully retire with a lifestyle you consider comfortable?

Chart 2: Thinking about how much you are putting aside to fund your retirement, are you saving enough?