Genders not So Different When It Comes to Retirement Savings

March 21, 2011 ( – The Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found men and women are equally likely to say they (and/or their spouse) have saved for retirement and to say they are currently saving for retirement.

Women are statistically as likely as men to report they are offered (43% vs. 49%) and contribute to (34% vs. 39%) a workplace retirement savings plan. Men and women are statistically equally likely to say they (and/or their spouse) have an individual retirement account (IRA, including a rollover IRA) (47% vs. 44%).  

In addition, according to an EBRI Fast Facts report, the survey found men and women have similar expectations for the age at which they plan to retire; both men and women have a median expected retirement age of 65. However, men are more apt to say they will never retire.  

Women (23%) and men (22%) are equally likely to report that they have changed their expected retirement age in the past 12 months. Among those who have altered their plans, the vast majority of both men (88%) and women (90%) say they plan to retire later, at an older age than before.  

Men are statistically just as likely as women to expect to work for pay in retirement (77% of men versus 72% of women).

…but, There Are Differences  

The Retirement Confidence Survey did find some differences between men and women in their retirement confidence and ideas about needs in retirement. 

According to the Fast Facts, more so than women, men tend to feel very confident that they will have saved enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement and are doing a good job of preparing financially for retirement. Men are also more apt to be very confident about having enough money to take care of basic expenses and medical expenses.  

Women (40%) are statistically just as likely as men (45%) to indicate they have tried to calculate how much they will need to have saved by the time they retire so that they can live comfortably in retirement. However, despite the fact that women tend to face higher health care expenses in retirement due to their greater longevity, women (35%) are more likely than men (26%) to think they will need to accumulate less than $250,000 for retirement.  

Women are also more likely to say they do not know how much they will need to save (12% vs. 5%). Men more often say they need to accumulate $1 million or more for retirement.  

The Retirement Confidence Survey found, in general, workers are much less confident about retirement than last year (see Workers More Worried About Retirement).