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Kim Butler
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Retirement Planning Can Avert Crisis for "Underprepared" Women

Majority of women 45 and older have less than $50,000 saved for retirement

| BY Donald Liebenson

Another survey and yet another dire finding that women’s retirement planning is lacking and they are “woefully underprepared” for their retirement years. Four-in-ten women have less than $10,000 saved, and only 21 percent have more than $100,000 in their investment accounts, according to a report by Mintel.

Pre-retirees are in an even more precarious retirement planning situation. Fifty-eight percent of single women ages 45 and older who have any kinds of savings or retirement account have less than $50,000 saved for their senior years, while less than one-quarter (22 percent) have more than $100,000 saved.

They do know better. Only 5 percent of women ages 45-54 and 16 percent of women baby boomers ages 55-64 believe they are saving enough for retirement.

Research indicates that younger women are becoming more proactive when it comes to their retirement planning. "Women nearing retirement age believe saving for retirement is very important, and women aged 25-44 are the most likely to rate saving for retirement as their top financial goal over the next year," says Susan Menke, VP and behavioral economist at Mintel, in a statement.

Thirty-six percent of women who have not yet retired say they plan to keep working at least part-time during retirement because they will need the income. The percentage jumpts to 50 percent for women ages 55-64 years-old.. Lack of retirement planning is evident in that only 13 percent of women who aren't retired say they have determined the age at which they will be able to do so, Mintel found.

"There is a definite opportunity for banks that are willing to offer quality advisory services to their female clients," notes Susan Menke. "More than half of women say they 'trust the professionals at their bank to give them good advice about the products that are best for them,' suggesting they would respond well to recommendations made by an advisor at their bank of choice."

A recent LIMRA study found that compared to men, women are less engaged in retirement and investment activities. Only a third of women said they were actively involved in monitoring and managing their retirement savings, compared with 46 percent of men. Two-thirds of women were not confident that would be able to live their desired retirement lifestyle, but only 26 percent said that are spending time investigating financial products that could help them. The study also found that nearly one-third of women have not completed basic retirement planning activities, including calculating assets and determining expenses and income.

The challenges of saving for retirement are compounded for women due to several factors. One is the inequitable salaries between women and men. Another is that their earning years are compromised when they take time off to start a family of their own or to act as a caregiver. Not surprisingly, women are more likely than men (46 percent vs. 36 percent) to say that their biggest financial fear is running out of money in retirement, a recent Millionaire Corner survey found.

These findings would indicate an opportunity for financial advisors to reach out to women to help with the retirement planning that would ease their fears. A separate Millionaire Corner survey conducted in October found that while men are more likely than women to use a financial advisor to improve their investment knowledge, returns and opportunities, women are more likely to work with an advisor for the peace of mind and the ability to delegate to a professional.



About the Author


Donald Liebenson

dliebenson@millionairecorner.com

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.