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There’s a Retirement Gender Gap, New Survey Finds

Retirement is the next financial frontier for women in the workplace, according to a new survey. Although women have made significant economic gains in the U.S. in recent years, they still lag in savings for retirement. And they’re looking to their employers for advice.

Part of the problem, the survey found, was to due to a knowledge and confidence gap in women about how to plan for their retirement.

Only slightly more than half (54 percent) of the women surveyed for Wells Fargo & Company’s sixth annual retirement survey said they were confident that they will have saved enough to live the life they want after retiring, compared to 62 percent of men. They were also less likely to have a pension available to them through their employer and believe that Social Security will be available to them when they retire.

And like men, women are underfunded for retirement. They also set their sights lower, the survey found, saying they thought $200,000 would be enough to support them during retirement, while men predicted they would need twice that amount.

The survey queried middle-class women from across in the country — ranging from those in their mid-20s to those who are already retired and in their 60s.
“Women hold more than half of high-paying management and professional positions in the U.S. and three women are in college for every two men,” said Karen Wimbish, head of retail retirement for women at Wells Fargo. “But when it comes to retirement, they lag in their confidence about how to prepare for this phase in life and are less likely to see themselves in the driver’s seat . “

“We’d like to see women make the same kind of progress in planning and saving for retirement they’ve made in so many other spheres of life,” she continued. “It’s encouraging that retirement is the No. 1 financial topic women want to learn about, based on additional research we’ve done.”

Increasingly, the survey found, women would welcome receiving planning assistance from their employer. And overwhelming majority (83 percent) agree that employers should provide personal advice to help employees manage retirement savings, with single women in their 20s and 30s being the most enthusiastic.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.