Retirement planning is much tougher for women than it is for men.
Montreal-based BMO Financial Group offers these statistics about Americans.
- Women live longer than men. By age 85, there are six women for every four men. At age 100, the ratio is more than 2-to-1.
- Women earn less than men, and that translates into less savings. In 2010, women earned 81 cents for every $1 men earned.
- Women have more intermittent work histories. It is hard to get around the fact that women have the babies.
- Widowhood or divorce reduces women's income. The average age of widowhood is 65. In the first year after a divorce, twice as many women than men had an income below the poverty level.
What can women do? BMO suggests that there are things women can learn from men that will help them overcome conditions that are otherwise hard to change.
Study up on financial issues. Don't let men make all the decisions without your input. Nearly 75 percent of men surveyed by BMO felt at least somewhat knowledgeable about financial products and services, while only 54 percent of women said they felt knowledgeable. As a result, men are three times more likely than women to monitor and manage retirement planning.
Get gutsy. Women are much less likely to invest in stocks than men, and they generally have lower tolerance for risk. According to BMO, "The willingness to assume a reasonable level of risk allows men to achieve relatively higher growth in their retirement savings. Even in retirement, people need to plan for growth in their investments in order to offset the impact of inflation."
Set high goals and expect to succeed. Fifty-five percent of men say they will need $1 million or more for retirement, while only 36 percent of women say they will need that much. According to BMO, because men expect to need more, they are more aggressive than women about figuring out ways to get there.
What do you think? Is retirement planning much tougher for women than it is for men?