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Moms are less prepared for retirement than fathers or women without children, a new study says.

Mothers can teach us a lot about money, but one area they might need help in is retirement planning, a new study shows.

“Women, who tend to live longer and will likely need more resources than men in retirement, generally earn less, save less and have less saved,” the ING Retirement Research Institute says.

Among more than 4,000 responses, it found:

  • Almost half of mothers (46 percent) don’t know how to achieve their retirement goals.
  • Just 20 percent of mothers have an investment plan.
  • Mothers contribute less to employee retirement plans than fathers (7.6 percent of income) or women without children (8.5 percent) — just 7.1 percent of their paycheck, on average.
  • Mothers are also the least likely group to be contributing the maximum amount employers will match, and thus are missing out on free money.
  • Mothers have an average of $88,000 in total retirement savings, compared with $128,000 for fathers and $116,000 for women without children.
  • Mothers are least likely to have an emergency fund, and among those who do, it’s less than three months’ salary on average.
  • More than one-third of mothers regularly carry a credit card balance, and they are nearly twice as likely as fathers (11 percent to 6 percent) to face credit card late fees, and three times as likely as women without children.

The study did not include households with incomes below $40,000. Its definition of mother and father was based on having a child under the age of 18 living at home; those with adult children were excluded from the parent categories.

Stacy Johnson

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