Women know how to prepare for retirement by saving, but taking risks is another matter. The 1999 Womens' Retirement Confidence Survey discovered that in recent years women have caught up with men in the amount they put away for retirement, but not in risk-taking.
About 70% of working-aged women surveyed said they have saved money for retirement, vs. 71% of the men surveyed. This is a jump from 1994, when 58% of women said they had saved for retirement. But only 27% of the women surveyed said they are willing to take substantial financial risks to achieve substantial gain, compared with 42% of men.
According to the survey, two important factors seem to be at work: women tend to live longer than men, and women leave and rejoin the work force more often than men.
Women also said their employers' retirement programs are the key to their expectations. While 44% save through a retirement plan at work, 40% said they expect that employer's contribution to be a major source of income in retirement.
The survey was co-sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the American Savings Education Council and Matthew Greenwald & Associates. It was underwritten by American General and VALIC.