Women and Retirement
Women today, whether single, married, widowed, or divorced seek ways to empower themselves and each other. This is especially true for finances and retirement planning. Women are taking ownership of money matters, asking tough questions, and making the choices that are best for their situations.
They’re also navigating an industry that just a few decades ago was almost exclusively run by – and dealt primarily with – men. This shift leaves a lot to be explored as women and men approach, think about, and manage money differently.
Retirement in one word
For a lot of people looking forward to retirement, the words that come to mind are relaxing, comfortable. For the adventurous, maybe even exciting. But at a time when retirees’ biggest concerns could be how they spend their time and freedom, many consumers are approaching retirement with uncertainty, describing it as scary, unsure and unknown. Here are the words survey respondents used to describe retirement.1
Most women have a plan
The time for retirement comes for nearly everyone, whether unexpected or carefully planned. More than 70 percent of female consumers surveyed have a retirement plan in place. Perhaps you know some of them – prepared and empowered – and maybe you are one of them. Another 17 percent of women are somewhere in the process of planning, while just about 10 percent claim to have no plan at all.
Have you started planning for retirement?
Women generally feel less knowledgeable about the retirement process. Your ability to confidently prepare for retirement depends largely on what you understand about the retirement process, your future income needs, and the options available to you. Overall women feel less financially secure and less knowledgeable about the retirement process than men. With a growing probability that women will be the primary manager of household wealth, this poses a dilemma.
What’s important differs between women and men?
Seeking security, female consumers responding to the survey cited peace of mind, emergencies, and health care as the most important reasons to save. Women were concerned about sustaining their lifestyle, affording it and enjoying it. Women were significantly more concerned about saving for emergencies and mortgage or rent expenses than men.
Where do women and men turn for advice?
Interestingly, the majority of women cite their employer as a place to learn about retirement. It is true that the workplace can be a helpful resource to educate yourself on the benefits available through your employer, which can include a retirement savings plan like a 401(k). A good practice is to have a resource outside of work who is familiar with your retirement goals and assets.
A financial professional might be able to recommend additional products and services to address needs your employer-based solutions do not necessarily aim to address. Also, that way, if you change jobs or eventually retire from there, an outside financial professional can help implement your plan.
About 50 percent of respondents said they have turned to financial professionals for retirement advice. Friends or family came in as a third resource for women at 34 percent. A significant difference to note is that men relied less on employers and friends/family and turned more to online resources or their own experience to learn about retirement savings.
Large number of women lack confidence
Thirty-five percent of women felt moderately confident with their current retirement plan, and another 33 percent were very confident. If 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for their household finances at some point in their life, the 30 percent of women who have low confidence in their current retirement plan may have some room to grow.
For those with low confidence who did not have the help of a financial professional, they were asked what, in general, would help them feel more confident. Respondents indicated simply having more money to work with would make them more confident. Another wanted to see more secure market/economic conditions. In terms of what consumers can control, they noted advice from a professional would be helpful. One respondent said she would be more confident “actually having a plan.”
How do you feel after reading how fellow women feel about retirement?
- Very prepared
- Somewhat prepared
- Could be a lot more prepared
- Not prepared at all
What next steps would you be interested in taking?
- Discussing this information with my partner
- Sharing this information with female friends, family, and/or coworkers
- Finding a financial professional to discuss my retirement goals and fears
- Meeting with my current financial professional
- Becoming an empowered consumer, confident in my knowledge and ability to take control of my retirement preparedness
1North American Company conducted survey: The general consumer study was conducted Nov. 6-19, 2017, and included 400 females and 200 males, age 40 and above. The agent study was conducted Nov. 17 to Dec. 12, 2017, and included 257 contracted agents including both men and women.
Investment Advisory Services offered through Sound Income Strategies, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Shala Financial, LLC and Sound Income Strategies, LLC are not associated entities.
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