Heading into this year’s presidential election cycle, 51% of women in a new survey are feeling upbeat about their financial futures, and 42% are confident that their saving and investing decisions are on the right track, BlackRock reported Monday.
This is a big improvement over last year’s survey, when less than half of women felt positive about their financial futures and only a third were confident about their financial decisions.
For the survey, BlackRock polled 2,040 American women and 1,960 men.
It found that 43% of women and 41% of men prioritized saving to ensure a comfortable retirement. However, 65% of men reported saving for retirement, compared with 55% of women.
This may explain why 75% of women were concerned about being able to achieve their retirement goals, versus 68% of men.
The survey found that both women and men on average had similar goals for an annual retirement income: $45,018 vs. $45,956.
But a big difference emerged in actual average retirement savings for women and men in the 55 to 65 age group.
Women’s average $118,000 in savings could provide $7,872 of annual estimated annual retirement income, according to the BlackRock CoRi Index 2015, compared with men’s average $162,000 in savings, which could provide $10,807.
At the same time, only 36% of men worried about their ability to achieve the annual income goal they need in retirement, despite the shortfall, compared with a much more realistic 52% of women who were similarly concerned.
Fifty-one percent of women said they availed themselves of a workplace retirement savings plan to get started investing, compared with 43% of men.
“For women, workplace plans represent a critical step towards their most important financial goals,” BlackRock’s head of personal investing Heather Pelant said in a statement.
Pelant said this suggested that “employers need to keep the characteristics and needs particularly of women firmly in mind in their efforts to help their employees become more effective savers and investors.”
The survey found that women and men have very different ways of looking at money and investing.
Sixty-one percent of women said they followed a household budget, but only 23% regularly reviewed the performance of their savings and investments, compared with 33% of men, and 55% of women focused on paying off debt vs. 46% of men.
Men in the poll were also more likely that women to do the following:
- Prioritize growing their wealth: 35% vs. 28%
- Prioritize holding on to their wealth: 26% vs. 20%
- To say “I consider myself an investor”: 40% vs. 22%
- To have less of their assets in low-return cash: 60% of the portfolio for men vs. 71% for women
- To say they enjoy managing their investments: 46% vs. 26%
When asked how the idea of investing makes them feel, men were likelier than women to associate words like “hopeful” and “optimistic,” while women most associated “nervous” and “risky.”