EBRI’s 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey: Gender Comparisons Among Workers

Do men and women plan and save for retirement equally? The 21st annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) provides some answers. The RCS found men and women are equally likely to save for retirement. Also, women are statistically as likely as men to report they are offered (43 percent vs. 49 percent) and contribute to (34 percent vs. 39 percent) a work place retirement savings plan. However, men (17%) are more likely than women (10%) to say they are very confident about several of the financial aspects of retirement.

Interestingly, although women tend to face higher health care expenses in retirement due to their greater longevity, women (35 percent) are more likely than men (26 percent) to think they will need to accumulate less than $250,000 for retirement. Another point of departure is that women are more likely than men to be very concerned about the possibility that Social Security payments will be reduced (68 percent vs. 52 percent) and the age at which they become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits will increase before they retire (54 percent vs.44 percent).

Apart from gender comparisons, the 2011 RCS reported some disconcerting news — Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has plunged to a new low. The percentage of workers not at all confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement increased from 22 percent in 2010 to 27 percent this year, the highest level in the RCS’ 21 years. Also, instead of reducing spending and/or saving more to shore up retirement accounts, most workers are planning on delaying retirement and/or working part-time in retirement. My caution is always is that health concerns may not allow you to work as long as your figure to.

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