Women Risk Their Retirement by Making This Avoidable Mistake

A young woman studies a laptop computer screen and holds a pen in an office
Photo by Viktoriia Hnatiuk / Shutterstock.com

The path to retirement is a steeper climb for women from the get-go: We tend to earn less and live longer than men.

So, we can’t afford to fumble funding our retirement. Yet, underinvesting is women’s biggest financial regret, according to a recent report on women’s financial wellness from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.

About 3,700 adults were polled for the report, with more than 2,600 of them being women. Respondents represented all education, income and asset levels and were of various ages, races and marital statuses.

One question posed to women was:

“What do you wish you had done differently to feel more financially secure today?”

The most common response was “invested more of my money” — with 41 percent of women responding this way. That answer beat out choosing a better-paying career, taking on less credit card debt and living within or below one’s means.

Investing wisely and consistently is one of the best ways to build wealth — if not the best way. So, if women are failing to make the most of this tool, they are jeopardizing their nest eggs.

Why women regret underinvesting

Based on the report, it appears a lack of confidence could be at issue. Women and men report feeling about equally confident about various financial tasks with the exception of investing.

The share of women who are confident at paying bills and budgeting is actually 1 percentage point higher than the share of men who feel that way. And when it comes to paying off debt and choosing insurance, women are only 2 percentage points behind men.

When it comes to managing investments, however, 52 percent of women feel confident compared with 68 percent of men. That’s a difference of 16 percentage points.

This lack of confidence is ironic, considering that analyses have shown women are better at investing than men.

For example, Fidelity Investments reported last year that women’s returns beat men’s by an average of 40 basis points, or 0.4 percent. SigFig Wealth Management found the same difference in returns.

A simple solution

This news of where women stand on investing pains me. Not because I am a woman or work in personal finance, but because you can easily avoid investing regrets and lack of investing confidence with a little education.

I’m not talking about a college degree, just some strategic reading. All you need is an internet connection or a library card.

As Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson puts it in “Ask Stacy: Do I Need a Financial Adviser, or Can I Manage My Money Myself?”:

“Money management isn’t rocket science. In fact, I’d consider it more basic than income taxes. Providing you’re willing to do a little reading, you can easily do it yourself.”

If you spend a lot of time online, find some financial websites that suit your current financial literacy level and financial goals. I hear Money Talks News is fantastic — perhaps start with “5 Simple Ways to Invest Your Retirement Savings,” penned by a woman.

If you prefer books, try the writings of investing gurus like Warren Buffett and John C. Bogle. (Yes, I realize they are men, but it’s their investing track records that make their advice worthwhile.)

If you’ve tried to educate yourself about investing and still find it too intimidating to manage your own investments, there’s no shame in pursuing a financial adviser. It’s arguably the smart thing to do in such a case — provided you vet the person.

How would you rate your confidence in managing investments? Share with us below or over on our Facebook page

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
It’s Worth Paying More for These 7 Things
It’s Worth Paying More for These 7 Things

Sometimes, the difference in quality makes it worthwhile to open your wallet a little wider.

6 Reasons Hiding Cash at Home Is a Terrible Idea
6 Reasons Hiding Cash at Home Is a Terrible Idea

Stashing cash around the house is anything but harmless.

7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50
7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50

Simply avoiding these actions, or lack thereof, can improve the odds of a longer, more healthful life.

12 Things Everyone Should Stop Buying This Year
12 Things Everyone Should Stop Buying This Year

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More
10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More

Think you’re a savvy shopper? Find out how retailers persuade you to dig more deeply into your wallet.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk
Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends leaving this type of store within a half-hour.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.