Retirement in 2023: How Men and Women Compare in Planning for Their Golden Years

Planning, finance and couple with paper and laptop for budget, insurance and savings on sofa of their house.
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Saving for retirement is important, but men and women feel much differently about how they are doing financially.

In a recent GOBankingRates survey, we asked men and women about their retirement savings, Social Security plans, and about how confident they are with their own numbers. The results were not surprising, but they did show the dire state our nation is in with regards to retirement planning. And the gender disparity in pay definitely bleeds over into our survey as well.

Keep reading to find out how men and women compare in planning for retirement.

How Much Saved for Retirement

Men and women don’t have the same amount saved for retirement. Shocking, I know. But in our recent survey, we found out that men have far more saved, and many women have nothing saved.

Here’s the breakdown of how much men and women have saved for retirement:

Amount Saved Women Men
$0 30.34% 26.46%
$1 – $10,000 22.98% 16.67%
$10,001 – $25,000 10.41% 10.83%
$25,001 – $50,000 11.13% 10.00%
$50,001 – $100,000 8.26% 14.79%
$100,001 – $250,000 7.90% 6.46%
$250,001 – $500,000 4.31% 7.71%
$500,001 – $750,000 2.33% 2.29%
$750,001 – $1 million 0.90% 1.67%
More than $1 million 1.44% 3.13%

As you can see, over a quarter of both men and women have $0 saved for retirement. But while 26% of men have nothing saved, over 30% of women haven’t put anything away for retirement.

And on the higher end of the savings spectrum, almost 15% of men have over $250,000 saved for retirement, while less than 9% of women have eclipsed that mark.

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This one again highlights the gender pay gap, as women earning less on average can prevent them from saving as much as men.

How Much Do You Need in Retirement?

In addition to actual retirement savings, men and women have a different perception on what they believe is needed to retire. Here’s the data:

Amount Needed Women Men
Less than $250,000 21.90% 21.67%
$250,001 – $500,000 29.98% 21.67%
$500,001 – $1 million 26.03% 25.00%
$1.01 million – $1.5 million 8.08% 12.08%
$1.51 million – $2 million 7.18% 8.13%
$2.01 million – $3 million 3.77% 5.83%
More than $3 million 3.05% 5.63%

More women believe they need just $250,000 to $500,000 to retire, but more men than women feel they need over $1 million.

What’s concerning is comparing the current invested amounts vs. what men and women perceive they need. About 91% of women and 85% of men have less than $250,000 saved, but 78% of both parties believe they will need more than that to retire.

Social Security Expectations

Social Security plays a big role for retirees, and many rely heavily on those funds to afford retirement spending. But both men and women don’t expect much from the program in retirement. Here’s what they expect to receive from Social Security on a monthly basis:

Social Security Payment Women Men
Less than $1,000 a month 24.06% 41.25%
$1,001 – $1,500 a month 34.47% 19.17%
$1,5001 – $2,000 a month 12.93% 10.83%
$2,001 – $2,500 a month 7.54% 9.17%
$2,501 – $3,000 a month 5.75% 4.17%
$3,001 – $3,500 a month 3.05% 3.13%
$3,501 – $4,000 a month 3.05% 2.92%
More than $4,000 a month 0.18% 4.17%
I am already retired 8.98% 5.21%

Over 70% of both men and women don’t expect more than $2,000 per month. While 24% of women expect less than $1,000 per month, over 41% of men expect less than $1,000.

But on the higher end, almost none of the female respondents expect more than $4,000 per month, while 4% of men fully expect to receive this amount.

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How Much Will Social Security Help in Retirement?

Here’s how much of their retirement men and women plan to fund using Social Security:

Response Women Men
All of it 22.98% 23.54%
More than half of it 28.73% 27.50%
Less than half of it 29.80% 25.00%
I’m not counting on Social Security at all 18.49% 23.96%

It seems that men are more pessimistic about Social Security than women. Nearly a quarter of the men aren’t counting on it at all.

On the other end, about a quarter of women and men are counting on Social Security to fund their entire retirement.

When Will You Claim Social Security?

In addition to relying on Social Security, we asked respondents to share when they plan on claiming Social Security benefits:

Age Women Men
At 62 26.21% 21.46%
After 62, but before my full retirement age 21.18% 21.88%
At my full retirement age 33.39% 38.96%
After my full retirement age, but before 70 (the max benefit age) 13.82% 8.33%
At 70 5.39% 9.38%

More women plan to take benefits as soon as possible, while more men plan on waiting until full retirement age.

Overall, most respondents plan on taking Social Security at or before their full retirement age, while a few plan on maxing out their benefit and waiting.

Sources of Income in Retirement

Savings and Social Security account for a majority of retirement income, but we asked respondents to share which sources of income they expect to live on in retirement. Here’s the breakdown:

Source of Income Women Men
Social Security 78.99% 72.50%
Pension 23.16% 31.25%
Traditional/Roth 401(k) 38.96% 42.29%
Traditional/Roth IRA 17.41% 19.79%
Investments outside of a 401(k)/IRA 27.65% 31.67%
Annuities 6.10% 10.00%
None of the above 8.80% 8.75%
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What’s shocking is that over 8% of both men and women don’t expect ANY of these sources of income in retirement. While there are other ways to fund retirement (rental real estate, other passive income), most people would expect at least one type of retirement account or Social Security income source.

It’s also very interesting to see that over 31% of men expect pension income vs. only 23% of women. Pensions are mostly reserved for government jobs at this point, so it’s curious to see that nearly a third of men still expect pension payouts.

‘Can I Afford Retirement?’

Retirement seems like a far-off dream to some, and many don’t believe they’ll have enough to retire. We ask respondents to rate whether or not they feel prepared for retirement. How confident are people about their retirement savings?

Retirement confidence Women Men
Very confident 19.21% 28.13%
Somewhat confident 41.47% 38.96%
Not confident 39.32% 32.92%

Less than 20% of women were very confident about their retirement prospects, but over 28% of men felt very confident. This highlights the financial disparity between the two.

Nearly 40% of women felt not confident at all about retirement, while only 33% of men felt this way. This might reflect the fact that women are still feeling behind when saving for retirement and don’t have confidence that they will be OK.

Bottom Line

Retirement savings is important, but more and more people don’t have enough. With the rise in inflation and life just getting more expensive every year, confidence in retirement happening at all is wavering. Overall, women are worse off financially than men and have less confidence that they will be prepared for retirement.

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