Income Planning

Majority of Women Are “Very Concerned” about Retirement Savings

New Research on Women’s Perspectives on Saving, Investing and Retirement Planning

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today released a new study on women’s retirement planning perspectives that found eight in 10 women have concerns about saving enough for retirement, with the majority, 54 percent, saying they are “very concerned.”

The report also found that women, compared to their male counterparts, have more concerns about financial issues and their ability to retire. For example, 54 percent of women are very concerned about being able to retire when they want to, and 53 percent of women are very concerned about being able to afford the lifestyle they want throughout retirement. This compares to 34 percent and 36 percent of men, respectively.

“The anxiety expressed by women is understandable when you consider the challenges they face in achieving a financially secure retirement,” IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford said. “Income disparities and time out of the workforce are among factors that will reduce retirement savings as well as Social Security and employer-provided retirement benefits.”

At the same time, longer lifespans will necessitate more savings to produce additional years of retirement income. To overcome these challenges, women will need to channel their concerns into positive actions. This is an area where the retirement planning community can make a significant impact, but it will require a more thorough understanding of women’s priorities, values, and preferences.”

The study revealed women’s preferences when evaluating a financial advisor. Compared to men, women place much more importance on a financial professional’s ability to explain financial concepts clearly without talking down to them. 58 percent of women compared to only 35 percent of men say this is extremely important. Women also place a higher level of importance on advisors’ ability to listen well, use new technologies, and consistently follow up. Women also emphasize that they want advisors to talk to them and not just their spouses.

Other key findings from the report:
Income disparities and time out of the workforce are among factors that will reduce retirement savings as well as Social Security and employer-provided retirement benefits

  • Women have higher levels of concern regarding financial issues compared to men. Women have the highest levels of concern about debt, paying bills, and investments declining in value.
  • Spouses do not always see eye to eye on who takes the lead in working with their financial advisor, with 39 percent of men saying they take the lead, compared to only 26 percent of women. Meanwhile 39 percent of women say they and their spouse work equally with their advisor, compared to only 26 percent of men.
  • Only one in five women described themselves as a “do it yourself” investor, compared to 40 percent of men. On the other hand, women are more likely to describe themselves as “do it with me” or “do it for me” investors.
  • Women are more likely than men to consult people in their social network for financial advice. 57 percent of women will consult friends and family and 40 percent will consult work colleagues, compared to 43 percent and 31 percent of men, respectively.
  • 36 percent of women say identifying areas to cut back is their biggest obstacle to saving, compared to 31 percent of men.
  • Lacking discipline to save is less of an issue for women than it is for men, with 18 percent of women citing this as an obstacle compared to 26 percent of men.
  • 78 percent of women are contributing to a retirement savings plan.

The IRI study is based on a survey of 1,002 Americans, including 701 women and 301 men, who earn at least $30,000 annually. Respondents were between the ages of 25 and 65. The survey was conducted by Greenwald & Associates in July 2015.

Click HERE to access the entire report.




About the Insured Retirement Institute: The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) is the leading association for the retirement income industry. IRI proudly leads a national consumer coalition of more than 30 organizations, and is the only association that represents the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies. IRI members are the major insurers, asset managers, broker-dealers/distributors, and 150,000 financial professionals. As a not-for-profit organization, IRI provides an objective forum for communication and education, and advocates for the sustainable retirement solutions Americans need to help achieve a secure and dignified retirement. Learn more at