When it comes to retirement, women face some special challenges.
On average women live longer than men. But they spend less time in the workforce and are more likely to work part-time.
Life span at birth
Women: 81.1 years
Men: 76.3 years
Percentage who work part-time
Sources: National Center for Health Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Throughout her lifetime the average college-educated woman earns about $600,000 less than her male counterpart. That means less opportunity to save for retirement.
Lifetime earnings for college graduates
Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
On average women earn less money from employer-sponsored investment plans such as pensions. Women’s lower lifetime earnings also mean lower Social Security payments too.
Average annual retirement income from pensions and annuities
Average Social Security benefit for people 65 and over
Sources: Employee Benefit Research Institute; U.S. Social Security Administration
No wonder women are more worried about having enough money for retirement than men.
Percentage who feel very confident they have enough money to live comfortably in retirement
Women: 10 %
Men: 17 %
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute
Fortunately women can take steps to improve their retirement outlook.
Percentage who agree that becoming more financially knowledgeable improved their quality of life
All women: 67%
Single women: 71%
Married women: 63%
Divorced women: 70%
Source: Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study
Thanks to the power of compound interest, investing $200 a month for 15 years starting at age 25 adds up a lot quicker than the same money invested at age 40.
Total savings at age 65
Woman who contributes $200 a month from age 25 to 40: $376,897*
Woman who contributes $200 a month from age 40 to 55: $136,605*
Take advantage of your company’s workplace retirement plan: Contribute as much as you can—at least enough to maximize any company matching funds.
*Assumes a hypothetical 7% return.
Your salary: $50,000
Your annual contribution, 5% of salary: $2,500
Your annual contribution, 5% of salary + 3% company match: $4,000
Talk to a financial advisor. Getting professional financial planning advice can help ensure that your portfolio fits your age and retirement goals, which is especially important since women tend to be conservative investors.
Percentage who feel “right on track” for meeting their retirement goals
Women with advisors: 36%
Women without advisors: 18%
Source: Prudential Research Study, “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women.”
This article is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, or investment advice. SunTrust makes no warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, does not endorse any non-SunTrust companies, products, or services described here, and takes no liability for your use of this information.