MassMutual DC Data Shows Women Catching Up

March 6, 2013 ( - Data for defined contribution (DC) plans administered by MassMutual shows women are closing the gap between their account balances and those of their male counterparts.

They are also catching up with savings rates compared to those of their male counterparts. According to the fourth quarter data, the average deferral rate for female participants was 5.38%, an increase of 1.6% for the quarter. Male participants are saving at 5.81% on average, an increase of 1.2% from the third quarter 2012.   

Since third quarter 2010, when the average account balance among female participants trailed that of men by 40.49%, the gap has been gradually closing (past 10 quarters). In fourth quarter 2012, the average account balance among females was 38.25% behind their male counterparts, an improvement of 2.49 percentage points or 5.6%.  

“This is a positive trend and we are so pleased to see slow but steady progress for our participants, especially our female participants,” said Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division and chairman, president and CEO of MassMutual International LLC.

The majority (73%) of asset allocation investments for females are in age-based strategies, while men are almost evenly divided between age-based and risk-based strategies, at 52% and 48%, respectively.  

The data also shows the percentage of participants in plans administered by MassMutual taking any kind of loan or withdrawal is the lowest of any fourth quarter in the past five years.  

Average balances and average deferral rates are highest for the Silent Generation (born 1945 and earlier) and Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964). Combined, Generation Y and Generation X participants (born between 1965 and 1995) represent 56% of total participants and 32% of defined contribution assets.   

While Gen X/Gen Y participant numbers are higher than the Baby Boomer count at 40% of participants, Boomers still have a greater share of the overall assets at 61%, but that gap, too, is closing.  

MassMutual serves approximately three million participants.