Health & Family

Study: Women more worried about retirement

In a stark contrast between the sexes, most women are worried about retiring and having enough money, while only about a third of men share their concerns, according to a recent survey.

About 54 percent of women say they are “very concerned” about retiring, and only 34 percent of men are worried, a national survey conducted by Greenwald & Associates for the Insured Retirement Institute has found.

The study’s findings are similar to others, which consistently show women more worried about their finances than men. A previous study done by Allianz Life Insurance found that almost half of women earning more than $100,000 worry about ending up as “bag ladies.”

Academic research also has found women tend to worry more than men on a variety of topics, not just finance. But the Greenwald survey did identify particular areas of financial uncertainty that are far greater among women than men.

Women, more than men, are concerned that they haven’t been saving enough, that their investments will decline in value, that they don’t know how to pick the best investments, and that their family debts are too high.

Despite all the concerns about the future, a majority of both men and women have plans that will intensify their fragility in retirement. They plan to retire earlier than full retirement age, with a third planning to retire before age 65, according to the survey.

“This indicates some level of wishful thinking on the part of respondents,” said Cathy Weatherford, chief executive of the Insured Retirement Institute, an association of brokers, insurers and asset managers. “They have definite ideas about when they want to retire, but do not have much confidence in being able to make it happen.”

Full retirement age for today’s workers is 66 or 67. Retiring earlier than that requires people to start depleting their savings sooner than they should if savings are modest, and it also reduces the size of their Social Security monthly benefits.