Gender gap widens on outlook for retirement security

While half of Americans don't think it's possible for a middle income family to retire, the gap between men and women's sentiments on the subject continues to widen, according to a new survey by Country Financial. Just 29 percent of women, compared to 44 percent of men, believe it is possible for a middle income family to save for a secure retirement.

Overall, the number of Americans who believe a middle income family can't save for a secure retirement (50 percent) increased three points since this time last year. The conflicting opinions can be seen even more so within a household. In fact, just 32 percent of married women, compared to 53 percent of married men, believe it's possible for a middle income family to save for retirement.

"Given all the negative news about the economy, it is not surprising people have become more pessimistic about retirement," says Keith Brannan, vice president of financial security planning for Country Financial. "However, the growing disconnect between how men and women feel emphasizes the crucial need for families to talk about money matters. With proper planning, a secure retirement is achievable for almost anyone, no matter their gender."

Americans acknowledge the need for early savings

More Americans (78 percent) currently believe people should begin saving for retirement before age 30 than did one year ago (74 percent). But, there's a difference between theory and practice. While both sexes see eye-to-eye on when to start saving, only 42 percent of men and 35 percent of women actually began putting money away before age 30.

Other key findings:

  • While men's biggest fear about retirement is not having the resources to do what they would like to do (47 percent), women are closely split between the same concern (37 percent) and worrying that they will run out of money (36 percent).

  • Men, however, are much more likely to say they have taken adequate steps to alleviate this fear (61 percent) than women (48 percent).

    "If you want to be successful with your family's financial situation, you have to realize there are fundamental differences in how men and women view finances," says Brannan. "The key is to understand the reasons for these differences."

    Country Financial offers tips to keep in mind while planning for your family's retirement:

  • On average, women live longer than men, so they should be as prepared as possible. That means putting enough away to last through retirement, as well as learning how to manage their finances by themselves.

  • Women frequently earn less than men, which can cause differences in how each agender approaches budgeting and planning. But, keep in mind financial decisions in a marriage should be split 50-50, no matter who controls the checkbook or who earns more money.

  • In a marriage, try to establish common goals like saving for your child's college or paying down bills, while allowing each person to budget for individual goals.

    Mb>About the survey:
    The Coutnry Financial survey results are based on a national telephone survey of 3,000 Americans and were compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, an independent research firm. The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 2 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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