Preparing for Retirement: Gender Differences in Approaches to Money

By Dylan Tansy, America Saves Intern

retiredcoupleGrowing up, everyone knew which parent you had to ask for certain things like new clothes or to spend the night at a friend’s house. For me, almost everything was up to my mom unless I wanted something expensive or a “boy thing” like a sling-shot, in which case I would ask my dad. These gender differences obviously vary from family to family, but some level of difference is almost universal. A recent FoxBusiness article discussed an Ameriprise Financial survey that explored these differences of how middle aged men and women approach financial conversations and giving financial help to other family members.

What seemed to be the largest takeaway point is that middle aged, or baby boomer men tend to be more optimistic about their financial futures and retirement than women. Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial, attributed this to the fact that the surveyed men were more likely to have set aside money for retirement, and figured out the amount of money they would need for retirement. Men seem to generally have more of a plan when it comes to retirement.

Another contributing factor that Baca pointed out was that men were less likely to have taken time off from the workforce to stay at home with children, or provide care for aging parents. This increased average time in the workforce for men allowed them to save more money in many cases.

The survey also found that while women are more willing to discuss financial issues, men are more likely, or quicker, to give financial aid to family members. De Baca says that over the course of raising a family, women tend to have more day-to-day discussions about finances which pave the way for more important conversations later on in life. Furthermore, women may be aware that they are statistically likely to outlive their partners resulting in an air of increased financial responsibility.

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to give financial support to their adult children, as well as fund more expensive purchases like a car for their children. De Baca says this may be a result of their own upbringing by the “silent generation” of fathers who were also more likely to help buy things like cars. Interestingly, the survey also found that daughters of boomers were more likely than sons to provide financial aid to their parents, possibly resulting from the fact that boomer women have more financial conversations with them than their sons.

America Saves is committed to helping everyone achieve financial security regardless of gender or age. Join America Saves and find the peace to mind and optimism that comes from knowing you have a plan for your future and the future of your family.

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