When it comes to retirement planning, women tend to save less money than men.1 But they also tend to outlive men and are more likely to live alone in their golden years,2 so they may need to do more to ensure their financial security.

It’s no secret that women earn less than men throughout their careers—about 82 cents for every dollar a man makes.3 That means they often start with less money to save or invest for retirement. It also affects their Social Security benefits, which are based on their average earnings throughout their careers.

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Women may need to do more to ensure their financial security.


And women are more likely to take time away from work to care for children or aging parents.4 That has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, when 1 in 4 women have said they’re considering leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers.5 As a result, they’ll have fewer years to contribute to their employer-sponsored retirement plans (and for the employer to match those funds) and to earn credits toward their Social Security benefits.

Women are also more likely than men to live alone in retirement. In fact, almost half of women age 75 and older live by themselves.6 This is partly because women generally live longer than men, but also because divorced or widowed women are less likely to remarry than are divorced or widowed men.2

So what can you do to help ensure you save enough for retirement?

  • Track your income and spending habits. Get a handle on how much you can afford to put aside for retirement. Need help learning how to budget? Start here.
  • Start saving for retirement as early as possible. Even a few dollars per paycheck can add up over time, and you’ll have the power of compounding interest on your side. Wondering how much is enough for retirement? Check out our retirement savings calculator.
  • Whenever you get a raise, increase contributions to your retirement account. Many employers also match a portion of the money you put into their retirement plan, which could be a great boost to your savings.
  • Make sure your spouse listed you as beneficiary. If you’re married, confirm that you’re listed as the primary beneficiary on your spouse’s retirement accounts.
  • Turning 50? Look into catch-up contributions. If you’re 50 or older and need to beef up your retirement savings, consider taking advantage of IRS provisions for catch-up contributions that may help you make up for lost time.

No matter how much you have saved for retirement, a financial professional could help ensure you’re on the right track and making the most of those funds. Learn more about the benefits of working with a pro in our article, The value of a financial professional.