New Study May Explain Why Some Women Save Less Than Men For Retirement

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&l;img class=&q;dam-image shutterstock size-large wp-image-1054848242&q; src=&q;https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/dam/imageserve/1054848242/960×0.jpg?fit=scale&q; data-height=&q;640&q; data-width=&q;960&q;&g; Shutterstock

Why do some women&a;rsquo;s retirement balances &l;a href=&q;http://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethharris/2015/11/03/mens-retirement-savings-more-than-50-bigger-than-womens-new-study-shows/&q;&g;tend to lag&l;/a&g; their male counterparts? A new look at attitudes toward saving for retirement could provide insight into the subject in finding more men identify saving for retirement as a top priority than women among those surveyed.

The survey of 4,983 U.S. workers completed in July and August of 2017 shows 60% of those men queried ranked saving for retirement as their top financial priority compared to 44% of the women respondents, according to results compiled in the &l;a href=&q;https://www.willistowerswatson.com/en&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;Willis Towers Watson&l;/a&g; 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey &l;a href=&q;https://www.willistowerswatson.com/en/press/2018/03/gender-differences-on-saving-for-retirement-linked-to-financial-needs&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;released today&l;/a&g;.

In contrast, saving for retirement dropped farther down the list of priorities for some women, whose more pressing concerns included meeting daily living costs (64%) and paying off debt (57%), according to the findings, suggesting that everyday expenses are competing for resources even if there may be a desire to put saving for retirement first. Of interest, married women without children under the age of 18 placed saving for retirement as their primary financial goal.

&a;ldquo;Varying financial needs make it difficult for many men and women to build a retirement nest egg,&a;rdquo; said Shane Bartling, senior consultant, Willis Towers Watson in a prepared statement. &a;ldquo;While our survey finds that women place a lower priority on saving for retirement than men do, we believe it&a;rsquo;s a question of, &a;lsquo;Am I able to save for retirement?&a;rsquo; rather than, &a;lsquo;Is it important to save for retirement?&a;rsquo; &a;rdquo;

This catch-22 for retirement savings is further complicated by the challenges many women already face including needing to stretch their savings for longer than men, due to their longer &l;a href=&q;https://www.forbes.com/sites/karastiles/2017/12/07/the-unsettling-truth-about-women-and-retirement/#4f5cffbe1b63&q;&g;average lifespans&l;/a&g;. In addition, &l;a href=&q;https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/upshot/the-gender-pay-gap-is-largely-because-of-motherhood.html&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;women&a;rsquo;s income&l;/a&g; remains lower than men&a;rsquo;s, on average, which can also contribute to lower overall savings.

Such unique circumstances&a;nbsp;lend support to some ideas for interventions aimed at addressing these needs may be necessary for many women to be able to make saving for retirement a higher priority. They might include further budgeting and debt management tools, nudging women toward higher default rates in their retirement plans and examining whether insufficient income is a root cause of such financial pressures to begin with.

Clearly, there is already concern about&a;nbsp;women&l;span&g;&a;rsquo;&l;/span&g;s overall well-being and the future. The survey also found both men and women share a decline in confidence about their retirement prospects &a;mdash; 57% feel confident they have enough financial resources to live comfortably for 15 years in retirement, down from 69% in 2015, according to the survey. According to the findings, just 39% of women are confident they&a;rsquo;ll have enough resources to last 25 years into retirement, compared with 54% of men.&l;/p&g;

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