Despite signs of improvement, women are not saving enough for retirement, finds a 2016 report from financial education company Financial Finesse. According to the report, which explores gender gaps in financial wellness, the gender gap is narrowing – now at 8.9 percentage points, a 37 percent improvement since 2012.
Still, just 22 percent of women aged 45-54 are on track for retirement; 28 percent of 55-64-year-olds; and 33 percent of women aged 65 and older. The report states that though the average American worker’s expectation of working is until at least age 66, the average age of actual retirement is closer to 61.
Does this mean it’s too late for those women 65 and older?
Not necessarily, says Kelley Long, certified financial planner and Financial Finesse’s lead researcher on gender issues. She said that some women are more motivated after the age of 60 to put cash away.
“While the last few years of work may not give them an opportunity for growth, they are able to put money away by cutting back on life costs,” Long told Rigzone. “What I’ve been seeing is women at that point in their lives are saving everything past their living expenses. This is partly because, in their later years, they realize they can live on significantly less money.
Long also mentioned that retirement can mean different things to people, depending on what stage they are in life.
“When you get closer to retirement age, it becomes clearer exactly what it looks like to you,” she said. “When you’re younger, retirement is almost an educated guessing game because you don’t know what your lifestyle will be in the future.”
The report estimates that the median 25-year-old worker who works full-time for 40 years, retiring at the age of 65, needs to save between $1.5 and $1.7 million to meet the estimated average yearly expenses for people age 65 and older.
“Those big numbers can be scary, but younger people should understand it doesn’t take a lot of concrete savings to get that amount because of compound interest and the years you have to save,” said Long. “It’s easy to get intimidated by the big number, but it’s also easy to save once you take it by the smaller number.”
Younger women, millennials in particular, seem to be struggling with saving enough for retirement.
Eighteen percent of women aged 30-44 are on track for retirement while only 16 percent of women aged younger than 30 are.
Long offered some advice. First, enroll in a company 401K savings plan if it’s offered.
“Try to start out contributing whatever your employer matches. If you’re not financially able to do that right off, add a percent every year if you get a raise,” she said.
Long also cautioned against investing too conservatively.
“If you’ve got more than 15 or 20 years [of working] to go, invest pretty aggressively,” she said. “Don’t pay attention when the stock market is weaker. In the long run, those investments will help you.”
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