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Wealthy Women’s Retirement Anxieties


A number of studies have shown that women overall tend to be less confident about their retirement than men. But a new study released today by Wells Fargo shows that this holds true even for wealthy women.

“Despite the fact that women hold half the high-paying managerial positions in the U.S. workforce and they make the majority of household buying decisions, women continue to lag behind men in their confidence in preparing for retirement,” says Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement for Wells Fargo.

Here are some of the key findings from the study:

  • Twice as many affluent women as men agree they will need to work until age 80 to have enough savings to live comfortably in retirement (18% of women vs. 9% of men). (Affluent in this study is defined as having investible assets of $100,000 or more, excluding real estate.)
  • Nearly one third (31%) of affluent women say they aren’t confident they will have enough saved to live the lifestyle they want throughout their retirement, vs. only 18% of affluent men.
  • Among affluent women, – who are the lead drivers of America’s consumer economy – two in five (42%) say they need to significantly cut back spending today in order to save for retirement, vs. 34% for men.
  • Asked to name their biggest fear about retirement, 48% of affluent women said they fear they “will do all the right things today and it still won’t be enough for tomorrow,” vs. 35% of affluent men.
  • Affluent women are less likely to say they “have no fears, it will work itself out” than men (42% for women, 55% for men).
  • Women are more likely than men to cast aside the idea of a retirement age, with 80% of women vs. 67% of men saying it is more important to have a specific amount saved before retirement, regardless of age, than it is to retire at a specific age, regardless of savings.

So what should women do to shore up their retirement?  “One of the first things you should do is maximize your 401(k) contributions,” says Wimbish.  “Work to save at least 10% of your income — you can start small and step this up,” she says.  For more tips on how to maximize your retirement savings, click here.


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    • I totally do not understand that affluent women are worried about their retirement. “Affluent” means having abundance of wealth. They do not worry about when to retire or not having enough savings since they are affluent. This article talks about regular non-affluent working women making $40,000 annually, maybe. I would never think that affluent women actually say that they need at least $100,000 saved for their retirement. For the affluent women, the amount of $100,000 would be living expenses for six months or less. However, as a working woman I know that the $100,000 will not be enough to live comfortably. Simply contributing maximum amount to his/her Roth or Traditional IRA account annually will have more than $100,000 at 65 year-old. If one has a retirement plan at work, he/she should contribute as much as possible. By sticking to these plan, non-affluent women will have more retirement funds than the affluent women who think they need $100,000.

    • One interpretation is that women are more anxious. Another is they are more rational…..

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.