In an era when personal savings make up an increasingly important part of retirement security, women are behind men overall in several important indicators for successful savings, according to a recent report by the Aon Hewitt consulting firm.
Overall, women save less for retirement and are more likely to default on loans against their retirement savings accounts, trends that along with overall longer life expectancies for women “play a critical role in why women are less likely than men to be able to meet their financial needs in retirement,” it said.
One positive indicator for women was that overall they participate in defined contribution plans – such as the TSP in the government, and 401(k)s in the private sector – at the same rate as men. However, women overall save less, an average of 6.9 percent of pay versus 7.6 percent. Also, nearly a third of women invest at a rate below that needed to receive the maximum employer match compared with just a quarter of men.
Similarly, while both take loans from their retirement savings at similar rates, women are more likely to default on a loan when leaving a job than men, by 71 to 64 percent..
“Women face a number of challenges when it comes to saving for retirement including gaps in their career when they are not actively contributing to their retirement and longer life expectancies,” the company said. “However, there are factors that women can control to boost their retirement savings, such as how much they contribute, how they invest over time and whether they keep assets within the retirement system.”