While Middle American men and women share similar feelings of financial security, women are more likely to worry about their personal finances and with good reason: they are three times more likely to say they cannot afford to save for retirement.
A new study from MassMutual finds that four in 10 women (39%) and 35% of men with annual household incomes of between $35,000 and $150,000 report feeling “not very” or “not at all” financially secure. The 2017 MassMutual Middle America Men & Women Finances Study also found that one in two women (51%) say they worry at least once a week about money compared to 45% of men. Women are also more likely to bring those worries to work while men are twice as likely to say they never worry about money.
“MassMutual’s research indicates that many women in Middle America are falling behind when it comes to preparing for retirement and building financial security,” said Teresa Hassara, Leader of MassMutual’s Workplace Solutions. “The data indicates an imperative for financial education for Middle American workers, especially women who often face greater financial challenges. Many people realize the need for financial education and say they would appreciate their employers making more such resources available.”
He saves, she saves
Men and women differ in their approaches to saving money, especially when it comes to retirement. Both genders overwhelmingly agree they are not saving enough for retirement (74% women; 71% men) but men tend to be more confident when it comes to being financially secure when they eventually retire. Nearly half of Middle American women (47%) say they are “not very” or “not at all” confident about being financially secure in retirement compared to 39% of men, the study shows.
Women worry with good reason. Specifically, 44% of women in Middle America report they cannot afford to save for retirement compared to 14% of men, according to the study. One in four women says they don’t save because their employer either doesn’t match retirement plan contributions or doesn’t offer a compelling match, and 21% of men say the same.
Only two in 10 women report having $10,000 or more in savings for financial emergencies compared to three in 10 men. A whopping 73% of women who are not saving for anything other than retirement say all of their income goes towards monthly expenses and bills; 62% of men say the same. Women are also less likely than men to use any extra money to pay off debt (38% to 47%, respectively).
When they do save, men and women typically take different approaches. Women are more likely than men to save “whatever is left after expenses” (47% women; 34% men) while men are more likely to save a set amount each month (33% women; 44% men).
“Men are more likely to pay themselves first, an effective habit for saving money,” Hassara said. “While educating women about effective savings strategies can help, women often face bigger challenges because they are typically paid less than men for the same work.”
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) reported that women typically are paid 80% of what their male colleagues earn for the same job.
He worries, she worries
Women tend to worry more than men about several different aspects of life, especially politics, money and family.
|From day to day, how worried are you about each of the following?||Men
Very or somewhat worried
Very or somewhat worried
|Politics/direction of the country||59%||74%|
|Your household’s financial situation||51%||57%|
|Health and well-being of parents or in-laws||50%||52%|
|Health and well-being of children||30%||40%|
Those who worry about money at least once a week report negative implications for their health and well being, especially women. Women are more likely to blame financial concerns for stress (59% women; 54% men), hurting their social life (43% women; 37% men), affecting the frequency or quality of their family’s medical or dental care (27% women; 17% men) and negatively impacting their marriage or romantic relationship (30% women; 25% men).
How are you helping your female clients save for retirement and worry less about the future?
- THOUGHTS ON THIS ARTICLE? PLEASE JOIN THE DISCUSSION VIA THE COMMENTS TOOL BELOW!
Emily Holbrook is a former Editor in Chief of National Underwriter Life & Health and Retirement Advisor magazine. She has covered the financial, risk management and insurance industries for more than a decade, with her work appearing in Risk Management, National Law Review and Huffington Post. Emily graduated with dual degrees in Finance and English and worked in the financial industry as a fixed income trading administrator and analyst before becoming a full-time writer and editor. Emily now owns her own writing, editing and content strategy company, Red Label Writing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.