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Addressing The Retirement Savings Gender Gap

March 21 2024

Wage Inequalities, Lack of Financial Literacy Continue To Challenge Women Savers

When it comes to saving money for retirement, there continues to be a significant gap between men and women. A November 2022 report published by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies estimated that the median retirement savings for women is $43,000, less than half of the median savings for men ($91,000). In addition, men are much more likely than women to have $250,000 or more in retirement savings—32% compared to 21%. The study also found that 25% of women have saved less than $10,000, or nothing at all, compared to 16% of men.

The following chart shows the difference between the median retirement savings of men and women by generation:

Total Median Retirement Savings by Generation: Women vs. Men                                                                                                                                                                             

                           Women                     Men

Baby Boomers              $101,000           $248,000

Generation X                 $ 51,000            $127,000

Millenials                        $29,000              $63,000

Generation Z                $26,000              $42,000


 What’s Driving the Gap? 

There are several reasons why women have historically saved less for retirement. Perhaps the biggest one is the gender wage gap. While good progress has been made in closing the gap over the past few years, women are still only paid an average of 83 cents for every $1 that men make.1 Lower wages mean there’s less discretionary income to save towards retirement.

In addition, women are more likely to have gaps in employment for taking time away from the workforce to raise a family or care for a relative. In addition to missed opportunities to contribute to a workplace retirement plan, such employment gaps lead to lower benefits when it comes to calculating Social Security.2 On average, men collected $2,020 per month in Social Security in 2022, versus $1,638 per month for women.3

Another key reason why the retirement savings gap has persisted is a lack of financial literacy. According to TIAA’s 2023 Personal Finance Index study, women lag behind men in this area. Given a series of questions about personal finance, men were able to answer 53% of the questions correctly, versus 43% for women. The reasons cited for this gap include feeling uncomfortable when talking about money and not knowing where to go to get better informed.

How Can Plan Sponsors Help?

There are many ways that plan sponsors and advisors can help close the gender retirement savings gap. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

Educational Workshops and Materials: Provide workshops, seminars, and educational materials tailored specifically to women to help them improve their financial literacy and better understand retirement saving strategies, investment options, and the importance of saving for retirement early.

Access to Financial Advice: Providing access to financial advisors can assist women in making informed decisions about their retirement savings, asset allocation, and investment choices.

Support for Career Advancement: Promoting initiatives that support career advancement and equal pay can help women increase their earning potential, which in turn can provide them with more resources to save for retirement.

Spousal IRA Contributions: Educating employees about spousal IRA contributions can benefit married women who may not have earned income (due to leaving the workforce for a period of time to raise children or care for a family member), allowing them to save for retirement alongside their spouse.


1 American Association of University Women (AAUW): "The Gender Pay Gap." 
3 Social Security Administration: “Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security 2023” (Page 15). 
TIAA Institute. (April 20,2023). The 2023 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index. Financial well-being and literacy in a high-inflation environment | Institute (
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