Survey Finds Women More Frugal in Retirement

June 16, 2008 ( - They don't only live longer, a recent survey suggests that women are more frugal in their retirement spending than their male counterparts.

Thirty-six percent of retired males surveyed said they were unwilling to take any money-saving steps in retirement, compared with 28% of females.

The recent national survey of 800 American adults age 60 to 74 conducted for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans found that:

  • 42% of retired females are shopping more with coupons or at sales in retirement, compared with 28% of retired males;
  • 35% of retired females said they are eating out less often or at less-expensive restaurants in retirement, compared with 29% of their male counterparts.
  • 20% of retired females said they are living in a smaller house in retirement compared to 16% of retired males.

“Equal” Treatments

However, 37% of males and 36% of females said they are traveling less or closer to home compared with their pre-retirement lifestyle; 15% of both genders said they are walking, bicycling, or taking public transportation instead of driving; and 3% of women and 2% of men said they had moved in with their children to save money.

The higher the income of a respondent, the less likely he or she was to take money-saving steps compared to their pre-retirement lifestyles, according to the report. For example, nearly half (49%) of retirees with lower incomes (less than $40,000) reported giving fewer or smaller gifts to family members compared to 17% of those with higher incomes ($80,000 or more). Similarly, 43% of those with lower incomes reported they shopped with coupons or at sales compared to 15% of those having higher incomes.

Data for this survey were collected via telephone between Dec. 1 and 13, 2007, among a nationwide cross section of 800adults age 60 to 74 of whom 397 were men and 403 were women. Sixty-four percent of respondents indicated that they are retired, 16 percent identified themselves as partly retired and 20 percent considered themselves not retired.