A new BlackRock survey of 4,000 U.S. investors found that fewer women have started saving for retirement than men, creating a gender gap in financial security for future retirees.
While 65 percent of men had started saving for retirement, only 53 percent of women reported the same. Of those that had, women had saved an average of $41,900 less than men.
The gap starts to narrow when looking at older segments of the population, but women are still unable to make up for the late start. By the time they reach retirement age, women accumulated an average of $37,100 less than men of the same age.
“Blessed with a longer life, it’s all too likely women will come to find that (retirement) will last longer than they had planned,” said Heather Pelant, a personal investor strategist for BlackRock. “With lower savings rates and less willingness to take risks, many women are faced with greater financial obstacles than men.
According to the BlackRock “Global Investor Pulse” survey, this gap impacts the investment behaviors of women, who are much less likely to take risk with their investments and to keep a larger portion of their assets in cash.
One explanation for the gap may be reduced employment tenure due to pregnancy and childcare, meaning less income to put away. The BlackRock survey found that only half of women between the ages of 25 and 44 were working full time, compared to about three-quarters of men the same age.
What is encouraging is that change seems to be happening within the new generation of women. Millennial women were twice as likely to describe themselves as an active investor and take on high-risk investments than Baby Boomer women.