Despite having a more powerful presence in shaping today’s workforce, women continue to be less prepared for retirement than men, according to a new study by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company. In fact, Hewitt’s study not only found that women need to save more for retirement than men, but it also highlighted that the gap between the amount women need to save and the amount they are actually saving is larger than the gap for men. Moreover, this gap will continue to grow due to lower salaries, conservative investing, longer life expectancies and higher retiree medical needs.  The study, which examined the projected retirement levels of nearly 2 million employees at 72 large U.S. companies, found that both men and women are on track to replace 85% of pay at retirement, assuming average life expectancy. However, women, on average, need to replace nearly 130 percent of their final pay at retirement—7 percentage points more than men. When factoring in differences in longevity, that disparity jumps to 10 percentage points. In other words, the average woman will need to save 2 percent of pay more per year than the average man, over 30 years, to achieve the same standard of living.  “There are multiple barriers women face that automatically put them at a disadvantage when it comes to meeting adequate retirement income levels—some of which are preventable and some of which are not,” said Alison Borland, defined contribution consulting practice leader at Hewitt Associates. “But despite these challenges, it is possible for women to make a significant impact on the amount they amass in their retirement nest eggs if they are willing to understand the challenges they face and take a few small steps toward improving their saving and investing behaviors.”

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