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Women executives fear lack of money to retire, study says

Friday, December 3, 2010  
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A survey of career women age 45 to 70 earning $75,000 or more annually shows they are highly confident about how to manage money, but fear they may never have enough money to retire.

"The MetLife Study of Finances and Female Executives,” a survey of 1,002 women conducted by Harris Interactive for MetLife Mature Market Institute in conjunction with the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), found 62 percent of these women feel they are not financially well positioned to retire, with nearly half reporting their families count on their income. On average, the women surveyed plan to retire between age 65 and 66.

While 46 percent of the respondents have a defined benefit plan -- more than double those in the general population -- and most have 401(k) plans, IRAs and additional savings, financial anxiety has spurred 42 percent to put more emphasis on guaranteed income for retirement. More than one-fourth said they are saving more, but another one-fourth aren’t sure what they should be doing to better prepare for retirement.

More than one-third, 34 percent, said they lost a considerable amount of their savings when the economy faltered. Sixty percent said they have moderate risk tolerance when it comes to investing, even though nearly one-third report their risk tolerance has decreased over the past two years.

"This poll indicates that many successful women lack confidence in their financial futures,” said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "The current state of the economy may be a factor, and many remain on the sidelines awaiting direction. Even those who earn more than $200,000 per year say they’re worried about outliving their income/savings.”

Seventy-four percent of respondents rate saving for retirement as the most challenging activity they confront; other challenges were juggling work and family (45 percent) and elder care (30 percent).

"Higher income executive women are a force in today’s economy,” said Cindy Hounsell, CEO of WISER. "They play a significant role in managing family finances, have climbed the organizational ladder despite hitting the constraints of the glass ceiling and have achieved success in terms of their careers and their income. The predominant challenge these women face is their feeling of insecurity about retirement. It is a common concern.”

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