Women's confidence in their retirement readiness lags far behind that of their male counterparts.
The retirement readiness of American workers improved in 2013, but for many remains a challenge, according to a new Financial Finesse report.
Nearly 20 percent of employees surveyed that took a financial wellness assessment in 2013 indicated that they are on track to reach their income-replacement goals by the time they retire, up from 17 percent in 2012 and 2011.
There is a glass half empty/half full mindset at work among American workers, the report finds. A drop in the national unemployment rate, improvements in home values and in consumer spending helped to increase consumer confidence, as reflected in the Conference Board Leading Economic Index, which ended 2013 at 99.4, up from 93.9 in January of that year. But retirement and investor confidence has taken a hit in the first three quarters of this year due to stock market volatility coupled with little to no growth in real wages.
Among Affluent households surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, running out of money in retirement is their greatest financial fear, while not saving enough for retirement is their biggest financial regret.
Some demographics face more retirement readiness challenges than others. Millennials, for example, have longer life expectancies, and reduced corporate and government benefits and potentially higher income taxes, the report states.
Women, too, have seen their retirement readiness threatened by salary inequality and sabbaticals from the workplace to start a family or to serve as caregiver. Thus, their confidence in their retirement readiness lags behind their male counterparts, with 63 percent self-reporting that they have a handle on their cash flow vs. 78 percent of men. Less than half (47 percent) of women workers surveyed have an emergency fund vs. 62 percent of men. Men age 55 and older earning at least $100,000 are more than four times as likely to feel confident that they are on track for their retirement as women under 45 earning less than $60,000.
Financial wellness assessments are a factor in retirement readiness confidence. A financial wellness assessment is a tool that helps pre-retirees gauge their financial situation in relation to retirement goals. Of those with the most confidence in achieving their retirement savings goals, a majority (54 percent) had used a financial calculator.
Those who took multiple financial wellness assessments showed the most improvement in their money management. Between the first and most recent assessment, there was a 76 percent improvement in those who said that are on track to teach their income goals in retirement.
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.