Women Want Retirement Education Improvement

August 31, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – While many women in a recent survey admitted they lack an understanding of the fundamentals of retirement investing, that doesn’t mean they no longer want to learn.

A Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies news release about its poll said when asked how they would describe themselves when it comes to saving and investing for retirement, 56% of respondents say: “Educate me: I seek advice, but make my own final decisions.”  According to the news release, 57% want more information and advice from their employer on how to reach their retirement goals, and 40% cited “a good starting point that is easy to understand” as something that would motivate them to learn more about retirement savings.

Respondents cited as the most relied upon information sources on retirement investing the advice they receive from friends and family (34%), financial Web sites (24%), and print newspapers and magazines (20%).

Regarding the notion that many women could use additional retirement planning, three-quarters of respondents agree they do not know as much as they should about retirement investing.  Only 3% of women indicate they know a great deal about asset allocation.

Specifically, among respondents:

  • 82% are unsure or don’t know of any fees that may be charged to their employer-sponsored retirement plan;
  • 84% are completely unaware of the “Saver’s Credit” that is available to low-to-middle income workers who are saving for retirement; and 
  • 57% said they don’t know about the catch-up contributions available to those 50 years and older.

“Just 8% of women feel they are already educated enough to successfully reach their retirement savings goals,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in the news release.  “It’s up to everyone to help educate and motivate the other 92%.  By listening to and embracing what American women want and need to achieve a secure retirement, we can start effecting positive change today.”

According to the survey, 70% of women say they could work until age 65 and still not have enough saved for their retirement needs, while nearly 60% say they are not currently building a large enough nest egg.  In fact, women estimate needing a median amount of $500,000 to achieve a secure retirement, yet almost 40% of women have only $50,000 or less saved in all of their household retirement accounts combined. 

While 401(k) plans and IRAs were most frequently cited by women as their expected primary source of income to cover living expenses at retirement (41%), 29% of the women surveyed still expect Social Security to be their primary source of income.  Only 67% of women surveyed indicate that they are offered a 401(k) or similar plan by their employers, compared to 74% of men.

More information is available at http://www.transamericacenter.org/resources/tc_index.html.