Close Close

Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

The ugly truth: Women have to work harder to catch up in retirement saving

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

You know that old saw about women having to work twice as hard as men? When it comes to retirement saving, it’s pretty much true — because they face handicaps that men don’t.

That’s according to a Financial Finesse report, “2015 Gender Gap in Financial Wellness,” which found that, although women are “slowly becoming better prepared for retirement,” there’s still a need for progress because “they face even higher hurdles than men due to longer life expectancies, higher lifetime health care costs, lower median savings and lower median income.”

Ironically, the report says that while women are making progress, men are either holding steady or actually losing ground.

And the loss can be related to confidence. Men have it, women don’t — which can hold women back in making financial decisions, but which also can cause men to forge ahead with “negative financial behaviors” and to be sure that their investments are allocated properly (48 percent of men vs. 34 percent of women).


Women are also taking more advantage of employer-provided financial education than men are.

The report said that in 2014, two thirds of employees completing a financial wellness assessment were women. Three years before, the number was just over a half.

But women are definitely running behind on retirement savings, despite their efforts to catch up.

The report gave an example of how men and women compare in the retirement savings arena, looking at a man and a woman, both 45 years old, and evaluating median figures for salary, average deferral rate, retirement life expectancy, projected income needs and health care costs.

The result didn’t make for a pretty picture.

The man’s median income was $45,292, compared with the woman’s $37,388.

The average savings deferral rate was 6.8 percent for the man, compared to 7.0 for the woman, but the man’s retirement savings was a median of $63,875 while the woman’s was only $43,446.

Considering that the man was projected to need a total of $57,264 during a projected retirement lasting 19.3 years, and face health care costs totaling $275,035, the report found that the man would need to save an additional $212,256 to make up the difference.

The woman, on the other hand, was projected to need income of $47,268 annually for a retirement projected to last 21.6 years, and to face health care costs totaling $294,975. She would need to save an additional total of $268,404 so as not to run out of money.

See also:

4 new (and surprising) facts about retirement security

Sizing up women’s retirement prepardness globally in 5 charts