Retirement & Financial Planning Report

There is a variety of reasons why women overall save less for retirement than men do, but better financial literacy can help address that gap–which is especially important because women are more likely to spend more years in retirement as single persons–a report has said.

“Financial literacy and engagement could be improved at relatively low cost, relative to changing lifetime earnings, labor supply, or health” but it cannot be “passed on to survivors,” says a study for the Center for Retirement Research.

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“Women tend to live longer than men, which means that they may need to have more set aside for their retirement years, and they may be facing those years alone. Accumulating savings is more difficult for women since they earn less than men do at the same jobs, choose lower paying jobs, are more likely to work part-time, and take more time off of work to care for children and elders,” it says.

The study examined the impact of financial literacy improvement efforts among a group of public sector employees–those of the Wisconsin state government–and found the program increased the percentage who invested in a TSP-like program by 2.6 percentage points. That closed more than half of the participation gap between men and women. (It did not however result in a noticeable increase in how much those who already were participating invested.)