Prudential: Women's 401k account savings are one-third lower than men's
- According to a report from Prudential Retirement, women have saved far less than men for their retirement. And although the fight against pay disparity is closing the pay gap, working women are at risk of outliving their retirement income, says Prudential.
- Closing the Retirement Income Gender Gap: The Opportunity is Now shows that women's 401k account balances are one-third smaller than men's on average. The situation is made more critical because women normally live about five years longer than men. A recent Prudential survey found that 25% of women think they won't ever be able to retire, versus 14% of men.
- The study also shows that women face further setbacks in planning and saving for retirement because of their life experiences, which might include maternity leave, caretaker duties, conservative investing approaches, and higher responsibility for student and mortgage debt.
An earlier study by Financial Finesse found that that women are 28% behind men in retirement savings and that millennial women need to set aside 12.6% of their pay for a sound retirement.
Retirement investing is tied to earnings. Although women in the survey were more likely than men to believe they would never be able to retire, other studies show that they also believe they're underpaid. That's because they generally are. By the fourth quarter of 2016, the pay gap had narrowed by just 1%, with women earning 80 cents for every dollar men earned. Retirement investing requires setting aside enough funds to build up an account.
A study by Comparably, a salary database, found that young women in the tech industry earn as much as 29% less than men. The pay gap narrows with age, but is nonetheless troubling. A Paysa study shows that, as the tech industry struggles with diversity hiring, women could miss out on $299 billion in earnings by 2025.
Some of these issues are indeed tied to the fact that women are often considered the default caregiver and must take time out of the workforce, damaging lifetime earnings overall. Employers can reverse some of women's retirement setbacks by closing the pay gap internally and offering tools and information on investing for retirement.