Big news recently – the gender gap has narrowed and the rate at which women and men participate in the Money Guide For Womenemployer-sponsored retirement plans is nearly equal. 91% of women and 92% of men said they participate in employer-sponsored plans so on the surface, things look like they are improving….but are they?

You know that I always urge you to check the fine print and this study is no different. While both men and women are participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans, only 12% of women versus 80% of the men report being on-target to replace 80% of their pre-retirement earnings. And only 79% of women versus 89% of men take advantage of their company’s matching-funds policy to max out their retirement savings.

That is not the only gender gap between women and men when it comes to investments. Nearly half the men said they felt confident that their investment allocation was correct. Only 29% of the women surveyed reported feeling confident about their asset allocation. Of course, that number could be explained by the fact that 89% of men say they have general investment knowledge. Only 65% of women say they have investment knowledge.

Overall, the study reports that women lag behind men in money management skills and investing – the very basics of financial fitness. Sadly, only 16% of women report that they have reviewed their combined assets to be sure that their investments are balanced across different classes. Part of the issue, it seems to me, is that women take a longer time to make financial decisions, which I think is due to the lack of confidence they feel about making money decisions. Add to that the all-too-common Bag Lady fears that women have and it is a recipe for poor financial planning.

There are three things that you can do to improve your financial fitness:

  1. Get my report on Overcoming Money Fears – you can request it at the top of this page
  2. Read my book Common Sense Money Guide for Women
  3. Book me as a speaker for your group’s next event

One result that surprised me was that women are actually ahead of men when it comes to meeting with a financial planner or attorney to make an estate plan. Sadly, it is only 4% of women and 3% of men who have taken this important step to securing their family’s future. It is my mission to empower women to break out of their white-knuckled, bag lady money fears and energize them to dream big in the second half of life. We do not have to be timid and afraid of money any longer. We can do it, women!