Societal Headwinds Are Undermining Women’s Retirement Security


New report examines retirement-related risks for women in the workforce

LOS ANGELES, November 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — According to Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic: preparing for women’s health, money and retirementa study published today by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) in collaboration with Transamerica Institute®.

“Women are at even greater risk than men of not reaching a financially secure retirement due to societal headwinds, including the persisting gender pay gap, time-out of parenting and caregiving staff, and reduced access to employer and government benefits,” he said. Catherine Collinson, CEO and President of the Transamerica Institute and TCRS. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to highlight women’s longevity and their retirement insecurity. Now is the time to implement solutions so that all women can retire with dignity.”

As part of TCRS’ 22nd Annual Pension Survey, the new study examines the retirement prospects of female workers and includes recommendations for women, employers and policymakers to improve retirement security. The survey, one of the largest and longest-running of its kind, was conducted at the end of 2021 among employees of for-profit companies.

The financial vulnerability of female workers

“Women workers weathered a financial storm during the pandemic. Many experienced negative employment impacts that could jeopardize both their short-term finances and future retirement,” Collinson said. The survey results illustrate the financial challenges female workers face:

  • Thirty-seven percent experienced one or more negative impacts on their work as a result of the pandemic, including reduced work hours (21 percent), reduced salaries (13 percent), furloughs (11 percent), and layoffs (11 percent).
  • More than four in ten female workers struggle to make ends meet (44 percent), while 57 percent feel they don’t have enough income to save for retirement.
  • Fifty-eight percent cite paying off some form of debt as a financial priority. Other financial priorities include saving for retirement (50 percent), building emergency savings (38 percent), and getting by to cover basic living costs (31 percent).
  • Emergency savings are low. Women alone $2,000 (median) in emergency savings. Emergency savings increase with age: Generation Z women have saved $500have millennials spared $1,400saved Generation X $3,000and baby boomers saved $7,000 (medians).
  • Thirty-eight percent currently serve or have previously served as a caregiver for a relative or friend during their working career (excluding parenting responsibilities). Eighty-four percent of them modified their work situation, including missing workdays (35 percent), reducing hours (25 percent), quitting a job (10 percent), and foregoing a promotion (7 percent).

Risky retirement prospects for women

“Women’s current financial challenges often undermine their long-term retirement confidence. Most women are also concerned about the future of government retirement benefits,” said Collinson. Only 21 percent of female workers are “very” confident that they can fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle, and only 24 percent “strongly” agree that they are building a large enough retirement pot. Seventy-six percent are concerned that Social Security won’t be there for them when they’re ready to retire.

The survey results further illustrate women’s risky retirement prospects:

  • Twenty-eight percent of female workers expect to rely on Social Security as their primary source of income after retirement. while 45 percent expect to rely on self-funded savings from 401(k)/403(b)/IRAs and or other savings and investments, and 16 percent expect to rely on employment income.
  • Sixty-nine percent are offered a 401(k) or similar plan by their employers, including 75 percent of those who work full-time, but only 47 percent who work part-time.
  • Almost three in four are saving for retirement (73 percent) through employer-sponsored plans (e.g., 401(k) or similar plans) and/or outside the workplace (e.g., in IRAs, mutual funds, or bank accounts). Of the women who save, they started saving at the age of 29 (median).
  • Eighty-one percent plan to continue working after age 65 or do not plan to retire state financial reasons to do so, while almost as many (77 percent) cite reasons related to healthy aging.
  • Household retirement savings are alarmingly low. Women workers only saved $43,000 (estimated median) in all household retirement accounts. Retirement savings increase with age: Generation Z women have saved $26,000have millennials spared $29,000saved Generation X $51,000and baby boomers saved $101,000 (estimated medians).

Recommendations for improving women’s retirement security

“Promoting women’s financial security requires collaboration between stakeholders, including policymakers, employers and individuals, to address deep-seated issues and modernize our pension system for current and future generations,” said Collinson. Each of these stakeholders can take additional steps, including:

  • Policy makers can implement reforms in Social Security and Medicare to ensure their sustainability. In addition, policymakers can implement further reforms to expand access to workplace pension plans, increase incentives for employers to offer plans, and facilitate retirement savings among women.
  • Employers can ensure equal pay between men and women. They can expand their retirement and health and welfare benefits to all employees, whether full-time or part-time. They can also offer flexible working arrangements, which can help all employees with work-life balance and potentially allow them to stay in work despite competing demands.
  • Women can gain more control over their future by gaining a full understanding of their situation, creating a financial plan, setting goals, considering the financial impact of a workforce timeout, and developing a retirement strategy.

“Women’s ability to achieve secure retirement ultimately depends on fair pay throughout their working hours; access to retirement and health and welfare benefits; and the preservation of safety nets such as Social Security and Medicare,” Collinson said. “Coming out of the pandemic, we have an unprecedented opportunity to bridge gender inequalities during a woman’s working years and into retirement.”

Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic: Preparing for women’s health, money and retirement provides detailed research results and comparisons between women and men. It also provides recommendations for employees, employers and policy makers. Since 2006, TCRS has been publishing research reports and conducting outreach campaigns targeting women as part of its annual pension survey. Go to to download the report. Follow on Twitter @TCRStudies.

AbOyout Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) is an operating division of Transamerica Institute®, a private non-profit foundation. Transamerica Institute is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties. TCRS and its representatives cannot provide ERISA, tax, investment or legal advice. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as ERISA, tax, investment or legal advice. For more information, visit and follow TCRS on Twitter @TCRStudies.

About the 22nd Annual Transamerica Pension Survey

The 28-minute online survey was conducted in the US by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Transamerica Institute and TCRS between October 28 and December 10, 2021 among a nationally representative sample of 5,493 employees in a for-profit business that employs one or more employees, including 2,686 women, 2,768 men, and 39 employees who did not identify as either gender. Where appropriate, results were weighted to match the population of U.S. residents, referring to census data for education, age, sex, race/ethnicity, region, household income, education, employment, marital status, and size of household. households. Weighting also corrects for attitude and behavior differences between those who are online versus those who aren’t, those who participate in online panels versus those who don’t, and those who respond to surveys versus those who don’t.

Media contact: Morgan Karbowski
[email protected]

SOURCE Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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