Even the most successful boomer women fret about whether they will have enough money to retire, according to a new survey.
While nearly half have a traditional pension plan, and most have 401(k)s, IRAs and additional savings, a majority of women are concerned about their retirement income. That's according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute, which surveyed women age 45 to 70 earning $75,000 or more annually.
The majority of women said their families count on their earnings - paychecks brought home while often juggling demands related to children and eldercare, too. The pressing question is how to continue growing and preserving the assets once retirement hits to afford healthcare, housing and other major expenses. As a result, female boomers' are focusing on how to achieve guaranteed income for retirement, which can come from sources like annuities, among other investments.
"The predominant challenge these women face is their feeling of insecurity about retirement," said Cindy Hounsell, chief executive officer of the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), which helped produce the study. "It is a common concern."
Indeed, saving for retirement is a financial challenge faced by men and women of all income levels. However, women do encounter special circumstances. For example, they tend to earn less and live longer. They also are more likely to take time away from paid work to care for families, which results in less retirement savings. Meanwhile, the "glass ceiling" also remains an obstacle - especially among those who have not been married - who feel their hard work has not been rewarded in the same way as their male counterparts, the survey found.
Outside of work, women also experience misgivings about their money management abilities. For example, 44 percent said they wish they had more business and financial experience. One quarter said they are confused about how to grow their portfolios, with many women indicating they lost a considerable amount of savings when the economy waffled.
"This poll indicates that many successful women lack confidence in their financial futures," said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.
Out-of-pocket healthcare expenses can be a source of major anxiety. Consider that women retiring this year at 65 will need between $88,000 to $146,000 in savings if they are comfortable with a 50 percent chance of having enough money to cover insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, according to a separate study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Men retiring in this year will need anywhere from $65,000 to $109,000 in savings.
Generally speaking, the women polled work in professional or middle management jobs, with 43 percent having profit and loss responsibility as part of their job description. A significant number work predominately in "traditional female occupations" in education and health care/social services, the study found.
The MetLife Mature Market Institute is the research arm of MetLife, which provides annuities, insurance and other retirement planning vehicles.