Saving for retirement is a challenge for many U.S. workers. But according to new data from Alight Solutions, a leader in technology-enabled health, wealth, HR, and financial management solutions, women face a number of obstacles that impact their ability to save.
“Saving adequately for retirement is not as simple as putting a little more money away with each paycheck,” says Alison Borland, Alight Solution’s executive vice president of wealth solutions and strategy. Prioritizing student loan payments, paying for a child’s education, or managing day-to-day budgeting can all get in the way of saving.
On top of these financial realities, women also can face significant headwinds that impact saving, including lower pay, interrupted careers, and longer lifespans.
According to Alight’s annual Universe Benchmarks report, women save at a lower rate than their male colleagues — 7.6 percent of pay on average compared to 8.3 percent. A separate report from Alight found that 63 percent of women say they feel intimidated by financial matters, compared to 46 percent of men.
Start small and start as early as possible, advises Virginia Maguire, Alight’s vice president of wealth product strategy.
“Start with a budget to help better manage day-to-day finances,” she says, “and then create a strategy to meet both your short- and long-term savings goals.”
Ask for help
Professional investment help can really make a difference with growing a retirement account. Unfortunately, Alight also found that 48 percent of women, compared to 54 percent of men, are not comfortable approaching financial advisors for help.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” says Borland, noting employers today offer a wealth of tools and resources to help workers navigate their full financial picture. Borland also urges women and all employees to make sure the professional investment advice they receive is unbiased.
“Investors should understand how their adviser is compensated to ensure the advice they’re receiving is in their best interest, she says.
Kristen Castillo, [email protected]