Millennial women have a difficult relationship with money — particularly when it comes to retirement.
That’s according to a white paper from T. Rowe Price’s retirement plan services division, which looked at how millennial women’s saving, spending and debt habits stack up against their peers.
The results don’t bode well for retirement, but it’s not for lack of trying.
While millennials as a whole say they should be saving 9 percent of their income, many simply can’t afford to set that much aside — thanks to student loans and other debt, coupled with lower salaries. Women in particular in this age group are falling behind when it comes to putting money away for the future.
Part of the problem could actually be their education; 43 percent of millennial women, compared with 41 percent of millennial men, have a four-year college degree or even higher. That can translate to higher student loan debt, and certainly their savings habits reflect less income available to sock away. They save a median of 5 percent of their personal income, compared with 7 percent for men the same age, and have 50 percent less in their 401(k) plan. Student loans represent 64 percent of their average total household debt.
In addition, 68 percent of millennials who are eligible for a 401(k) but are not contributing are women. The majority of those are relatively new hires who have been with an employer for less than two years.
That said, these women want to save for retirement; 52 percent of millennial women said they are absolutely certain they would, or are very likely to, increase their contribution rate to get the maximum employer contribution. And 18 percent of millennial women do have their contributions increased automatically each year.
Among millennials who are automatically enrolled in a retirement plan, they were enrolled at an average of 3.2 percent — but 47 percent say they wish they had been enrolled at a higher contribution rate. Of course, that only goes so far; many said they would opt out at an average of 6.4 percent.
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