A new Watson Wyatt study shows 87% of women earning at least $75,000 participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans, compared with 75% of men in the same salary bracket. And women generally also set aside a greater portion of their pay than their male colleagues, the study notes.
For example, women, aged 40 with 10 years of tenure, contributed 7.6% of their salary, compared with 5.8% for men.
Watson's study is based on analysis of the 1995 administrative records of more than 150,000 employees in 87 401(k)-type plans.
Women tend to invest retirement savings more heavily in stock -- except when company stock is an option, Watson Wyatt's research shows. Women between 40 and 49 years old earning $75,000 have 68% of their 401(k) accounts in stock, compared with 63% for men in similar age and income brackets. But these women tend to have only 27% in company stock, vs. 44% for men.
"It may be that women view company stock as a riskier investment," notes Sylvester J. Schieber, head of the research group.