Retirement Savings Levels Vary By Gender

retirementWomen are just as likely to save for retirement as men, but the amount of money they save falls far short when compared to that of the opposite sex, a new study reveals.

A report released Wednesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that on average, men saved a total of $139,467 in their individual retirement accounts (IRA), while women only saved $81,700 on average, according to the Washington Post. Women moved money into their IRAs just as often as men, the study showed.

According to the Washington Post, the likely factor that keeps most women from putting as much money in their IRA accounts as men is simple — women still don’t earn as much as men. In 2012, women earned 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, the Census Bureau reported.

Other factors may be at play in addition to the wage gap that the EBRI’s study doesn’t take into account, such as the fact that many women are single mothers, have other financial responsibilities or want to save up for something like a new house instead of retirement.

“The key factor to women having less money in retirement is that they are often making less money than men at their similar age. Women also need to own stocks because over the long term – the expectation for return are higher in this asset class,” says Craig from Winship Wealth Partners. “Its wise to avoid trying to time the markets and taking unnecessary risk of not being super diversified.”

The gap in total retirement savings is concerning to experts because of the fact that women have a longer average life expectancy than men, meaning they should be saving more than they are. However, the EBRI study revealed that the only age group in which men didn’t save more than women was the over-70 group, according to the Washington Post.

“I would think, as women continue to become a larger percentage of the labor force and have higher incomes, that you would expect that this gender difference would go away,” Craig Copeland, senior research associate with the Employee Benefit Research Institute, remarked.