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Survey: Women save less, are less confident about retirement


U.S. women have made economic gains in recent years, but they continue to lag behind men when it comes to saving for retirement.

According to Wells Fargo & Co.’s Wells Retirement Survey, which was based on 1,756 telephone interviews with middle-class Americans in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, only 54 percent of women said they are confident they will have enough saved to “live the life they want” in retirement, compared with 62 percent of men. 

“Women hold more than half of high-paying management and professional positions in the (United States) and three women are in college now for every two men,” said Karen Wimbish, head of retail retirement at Wells Fargo. “But when it comes to retirement, they lag in their confidence about how to prepare for this phase in life, and they are less likely to see themselves in the driver’s seat.”

Of those surveyed, female respondents indicated that they were less likely than men to have a pension or, among those employed, a 401(k) plan available to them through their employers. Women were also less likely than men to believe that Social Security benefits will be available to them when they retire.

“We’d like to see women make the same kind of progress in planning and saving for retirement that they’ve made in so many other spheres of life,” Wimbish said. “It’s encouraging that retirement is the No. 1financial topic women want to learn about, based on additional research we’ve conducted.”

The survey, which found that women have saved an average of $20,000 – compared with $25,000 for men – also indicated that women, whether married or single, thought $200,000 will be enough savings for retirement. Male respondents predicted that they will need $400,000 in retirement savings.

The survey was conducted on behalf of Wells Fargo by Harris Interactive Inc. between Sept. 9, 2010, and October 7, 2010.

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