Almost Half of Millennial Women Aren’t Saving for Retirement

A new Wells Fargo survey of over 1,000 millennials ages 22 to 35 finds a majority of women (61%) say their finances are stretched too thin to save for retirement. In fact, about 44% of women say they are not currently saving for retirement at all.

Source: 2016 Wells Fargo Millennial Study; Illustration by Julia Bohan

Source: 2016 Wells Fargo Millennial Study; Illustration by Julia Bohan

This is a concerning statistic given the potentially harder road women usually face in securing their retirement:

  • The wage gap likely contributes to a strained ability to save:
    • With less pay, women have less money to work with on spending and savings plans
    • On an apples to apples basis, if a women contributes the same percentage of her pay to a retirement account as a man, her contribution will be less because of the wage gap
  • Lower average wages mean an overall lower wage history on which Social Security benefits will be based
  • There may even be interruptions in wage history due to time taken off to care for families (Social Security benefits are based on your last 35 years of wage history - if there are $0s in your last 35 years, these will be factored into the calculation)
  • At the same time as women are saving less than men, they are living longer and will likely need to fund more years in retirement than an average male

With all that stacked against them, no matter the tough road, it’s much better that younger women focus on saving now, as soon as possible. If women wait, they may lose out on hundreds of thousands in savings by the time they retire.

So wherever you’re at on the income spectrum, it’s important to take a step back, take that personal financial inventory and find ways to invest for the future.