In a press release, Wachovia said the results of its survey also indicated women face more obstacles in planning for retirement than men. Fewer women than men (70% vs. 78%) have employer-sponsored defined contribution plans available to them, and for those who do, their balances tend to be smaller than men’s.
Wachovia attributes the smaller DC account balances for women to the fact they are more likely at some point to be out of the workforce to care for children and/or older parents. The survey found no gender differences in contributions made to plans.
Longer life spans for women in general and health care costs during those years add additional retirement planning stress for women. More than half of the women surveyed (58%) said they feel worried when thinking about preparing financially for retirement, and 61% said they feel uncertainty.
In addition, 39% of married women report not knowing how much they have saved for retirement, compared to 27% of unmarried women. Among men surveyed, 20% of those who are married and 28% of those unmarried do not know their total retirement savings.
Women survey respondents said they would like additional coaching, more information and education about investing, and a better understanding of their expenses and where they can cut back, to help them better prepare for retirement.
The Retirement Fitness Survey monitors trends within four categories that are based on emotional and financial preparedness for retirement. Individuals can access a short self-assessment at http://www.wachovia.com/retirementfitness .