Finance

The Gender Savings Gap is Real (Part One)

Image Credit: Photo by Mark Oates from Burst

Most of us are aware that there is an income gap between men and women, but what about a savings gap?

Savings and investments are critical components to accruing wealth, yet all of the numbers indicate that women lag behind men. Basically, the “savings gap” sets women up for a lifetime of disadvantage in comparison.

CivicScience weighed in on the numbers. An online poll tracking more than 88,000 people since the start of the year found that women were less likely to have retirement funds — among U.S. adult women, 66% have an IRA, pension plan, or other retirement funds, while 30% have no funds at all.

In comparison, 72% of U.S. adult men have an IRA, pension plan, or other retirement funds, while about one-quarter don’t have any funds. 

Women are 13% more likely to not have any retirement funds.

A more problematic picture emerges when looking at how much women are actually saving versus men. Some research estimates that women on average are putting 43% less into retirement than men.

CivicScience found that among respondents ages 25 and older who are employed, women are saving significantly less of their paychecks than men, including retirement savings. Only 45% of women are saving more than 5% every month, compared to 57% of men.

This savings disparity is noticeable across all income levels of employed women.

Income Gap to Savings Gap

Furthermore, data show that the less you earn, the less you save percentage-wise. Nearly 40% of adults (25 and over) earning $50K or less per year aren’t saving any of their income on a monthly basis.

Women earn less overall over a lifetime, putting retirement and other investments, like buying a home, at stake. The employment gap feeds into the savings gap — there are fewer women employed than men overall; however, women’s workforce participation rate has risen dramatically since 1950, while men’s has fallen. 

At the same time, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that, on average, women earn about 80% of what men earn in full-time jobs.

Here’s what that translates to. Among respondents, women (25 and older) make up the majority of earners making $50K or less per year, and only 35% of those making $150K per year:

While there many reasons behind the income gap, one important aspect may be the low ratio of women with tech and engineering jobs, which account for some of the highest-paid careers. Looking at the STEM workforce pipeline, female respondents do not even make up one-third of undergraduate STEM majors. Women show the greatest dominance in health and medicine and education.

Even so, the BLS reports that women in STEM-related careers don’t earn as much as men in these fields.

Perhaps a metric of measuring attitudes toward investing is to look at the extent that people gauge their own financial literacy. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow, when we’ll publish part two of this study, which looks into financial literacy and more.

 

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