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When It Comes To Retirement Planning, Women Report More Emotional Distress Than Men


Annual Wachovia Retirement Fitness survey finds consumers in general and women in particular not ready for retirement, and married women report being less ready

CHARLOTTE, N.C–Respondents to Wachovia’s latest Retirement Fitness Survey report that they feel better than they did two years ago about preparing for retirement, but they show few signs of being more prepared. Moreover, women worry more than men about financial preparedness.

“This year’s survey shows that while women prioritize specific financial goals – like paying for college or managing the family’s daily finances – they aren’t necessarily taking specific steps toward achieving their long-term financial goals,” said Robert L. Reid, president of Wachovia’s Retirement and Investment Products Group. “Women overall are more likely than men to feel overwhelmed and distressed when faced with retirement planning.”

More than half of the women surveyed, 58 percent, said they feel worried when thinking about preparing financially for retirement, and 61 percent of women said they feel uncertainty. Thirty-nine percent of married women report not knowing how much they have saved for retirement – significantly more than unmarried women, 27 percent. Only 20 percent of married men and 28 percent of unmarried men do not know their total retirement savings.

Fewer women than men – 70 percent of women as opposed to 78 percent of men – have employer-sponsored defined contribution plans available to them. And while there are no gender differences in contributions to plans among those who have them, women’s balances tend to be smaller because they are more likely at some point to be out of the full-time workforce to care for children and older parents. In addition, women live longer and healthcare costs for those extended years continue to soar.

To better prepare for retirement, women reported that they would like additional coaching, more information and education about investing, and a better understanding of their expenses and where they can cut back.

The survey indicated that both men and women could be doing more to prepare for retirement; only one in eight consumers has a detailed plan of how much they will need to save for retirement and how to get there.

“The troubling thing is that men and women alike are failing to contribute to employer-sponsored defined contribution plans and individual retirement accounts,” added Reid. “For consumers to have enough money in retirement, they are going to have to commit to contributing to all available retirement vehicles.”

Wachovia seeks to provide financial services to women in a number of ways:

-Wachovia’s new retirement site, Women and Lifetime Retirement Planning with Wachovia (, is designed to assist women as they plan for retirement.
-Wachovia provides Free Retirement Consultation at any of its 3,400 financial centers or by calling the Retirement Resource Center at 866-588-9606. The service includes Lifetime Retirement Planning with Wachovia, an age-based look at the steps women can take to prepare themselves for retirement.
-Wachovia and Wachovia Securities sponsor women’s conferences and events across the nation, providing informational, educational and networking opportunities with sessions that focus on money management and retirement.
-Wachovia Securities is providing gender training for Financial Advisors and Licensed Financial Specialists to help them better communicate with and meet the unique needs of women, in part through the use of Envision, the brokerage firm’s life goals and investment planning tool.
-Wachovia has developed an interactive eMagazine to help clients with retirement planning. The eMagazine ( is a Web-based tool for customers to access for retirement solutions.
This is the third year that Wachovia has conducted the Retirement Fitness Survey, which monitors trends within four categories that are based on emotional and financial preparedness for retirement. A short assessment is available at to help individuals determine their category.

Fitness categories, specific survey data and trended data are available upon request.

The Wachovia Retirement Fitness Survey was conducted in late 2006 by Evanston, Ill.-based Richard Day Research, Inc. (RDR) and included a special module and analytical focus on women’s issues. The results are based on online interviews with 2,110 individuals, ages 35-64, with household income or household investable assets greater than $75,000. This replicates all methods used in 2004 and 2005.


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