Other financial worries may be trumping retirement. Because women typically are more risk averse, they tend to be more prone to focus on conservative money moves like paying off debt. In fact, according Global Investor Pulse Survey results, women are more likely than men to cite the following as priorities: paying off the mortgage on their main home, paying off other debts, saving a deposit for a new home, and financing their children's education. This may be because women today frequently are the decision makers about household finances, but it may also be because many women fear ending up as bag ladies (i.e. they're suffering from "the bag-lady syndrome"). In other words, women may be focusing more on these other financial issues than on their retirement.
To be sure, men have their fair share of issues too. To name one, men's tendency toward overconfidence in their investment skills can lead to excessive trading and underperformance. Still, when it comes to saving for retirement, men do seem to be a step ahead.
So, regardless of what's behind this retirement gender gap, it's a gap that all women, me included, should try to overcome. By not beginning to save for retirement now, women risk falling short of their retirement goals and losing out on the benefits of good old compound interest.
Plus, retirement today is not like it was in the past - saving for retirement is more in your own power than ever before. So, women, let's try to be a little more confident and a little less risk averse when it comes to saving for our future. As confidence is rooted in knowledge, the more knowledge you gain, the more confident you can be. The good news is that BlackRock is here to help, offering a host of retirement resources online that can help you get started doing your part to close the retirement gender gap. Women, let's lean in and learn.
Sue Thompson, CIMA, Managing Director, is Head of the Registered Investment Advisor Group, overseeing the firm's iShares and 529 sales efforts with registered investment advisors, family offices and asset managers. Sue is a regular contributor to The Blog. You can find more of her posts here.