“Women’s dreams of retirement are overshadowed by financial and health-related fears,” Collinson says. “Today’s women envision extending their working lives beyond traditional retirement age and an active retirement that balances time for leisure, family and friends, and some form of continued work.”
Financial gender gaps
Women face unique financial circumstances, compared to men, according to Collinson. Circumstances, like taking care of children, or sick or elderly family members. When women need to take time off from their careers they earn less over their lifetime and sacrificing opportunities to workplace retirement savings benefits, like a 401(k).
“Women often take time out of the workforce for parenting or caregiving, foregoing income and benefits altogether,” Collinson says. “Statistically speaking, women live longer than men, thereby necessitating that they save for a longer retirement.”
Collinson continues: “In combination, these factors can have a compounding effect that severely impedes a woman’s ability to successfully achieve a secure retirement.”
There are many factors adding up to the reason women’s grim outlook on retirement savings and investments. One reason — as Debt.com has previously reported — there is another financial-related gender gap, other than the “pay gap.”
Not only are women earning less than their male counterparts, they’re investing their income at lower rates as well. This could be adding to the fear that TCRS uncovered in its recent survey. Many women are unaware this gap even exists.
Almost half (45 percent) of women don’t know there is an investment gap, and that they may miss out on up to $1 million during the course of their careers, according to female-focused investing site Ellevest. Ellevest has tips to close the investment gap that can help women save for retirement.
Collinson feels it’s not only on women to end retirement savings disparity.
“Women have made tremendous progress in recent decades. Yet there is more work to be done in terms of overcoming inequalities and helping women achieve long-term financial security,” Collinson says. “This endeavor must be a shared responsibility among individuals, employers, industry and policymakers.”