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There's a Big U.S. Gender Gap in Retirement Investing Confidence

Sixty percent of college-educated, not-yet-retired men say they're comfortable managing their investments, compared to 35 percent of women.

By Jordan Yadoo

(Bloomberg) --Women are a lot less confident than men when it comes to retirement investing, a divide that could perpetuate America’s gender savings gap.

Among college-educated, not-yet-retired men with self-directed retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, 60 percent say they’re comfortable in managing their investments, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Tuesday. That compares with 35 percent of female bachelor’s degree holders -- a smaller share than the 41 percent of men with a high school degree or less who are comfortable managing their accounts.

Of course, self-professed confidence doesn’t necessarily translate into superior decision-making. But the divide may be exacerbating the gender gap in U.S. retirement savings. Average and median retirement account balances for men are about 50 percent higher than for women, according to a report from Vanguard released last year, in part the result of women tending to have lower incomes and shorter job tenure, leaving them with less to stash away to begin with.

The Fed report is based on a survey of more than 12,000 people in November and December 2017.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jordan Yadoo in Washington at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Scott Lanman at [email protected] ;Kristy Scheuble at [email protected] Vince Golle

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