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MONEY MATTERS > More on Money Matters > MM 1

Retirement: Men vs. Women

The Retirement Experience: Men vs. Women

Do men and women see things differently? At least on the topic of retirement, the answer may be yes. A recent study commissioned by Ameriprise Financial reveals that gender may play a significant role in how we feel about and prepare for this major life event.

According to findings from the New Retirement Mindscape IISM study, women tend to have a more positive outlook towards retirement, while men are more likely to feel financially ready for it. The study also found that the recession has impacted men and women differently, a fact that may account for dissimilarities in the way they plan and prepare for retirement. For those in a couple, these differences could cause some major bumps on the road to a shared retirement. Financial pitfalls and stress on your relationship are just two of the potential fallouts you and your spouse or partner could encounter if you fail to communicate effectively about your plans and goals for retirement.

The Findings: Understanding the Gender Split

In 2005, Ameriprise Financial commissioned the New Retirement Mindscape® study, which examined how Americans ages 40-75 view retirement. Five years later, prompted by the seismic shift in the economy, Ameriprise revisited this research to discover how the retirement landscape has changed for U.S. consumers. Findings from the New Retirement Mindscape II study demonstrate that men and women continue to approach retirement differently, and that the recession may have actually made the contrast starker.

If you tend to feel more excited about retirement than your spouse or partner (or vice versa) you’re not alone. In 2010, pre-retired women are much more likely than men to feel “enthusiastic” about retirement (74% vs. 65%). They’re also more likely to feel “excited with anticipation” about the day they retire than men (53% vs. 38%). Meanwhile, among retired men, fewer express that they “enjoy retirement a great deal” in 2010 (56%) than they did in 2005 (67%), while the percentage basically has held steady for retired women (57% in 2005 vs. 56% in 2010).

Why the gender enthusiasm gap? If you’ve read the newspaper recently, you might guess one possible reason: men have been hit harder by the recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men account for nearly two-thirds of the jobs lost between late 2007 and December 2009. With such lopsided economic fallout, it’s perhaps no wonder that men report feeling less excited about retirement than women.

There’s the old joke about men being reluctant to stop and ask for directions. In fact, when it comes to financial planning, this may hold true. Despite having been hit harder by the recession, men in general are less inclined to seek guidance from a financial advisor. Both genders are more likely to work with a financial advisor in 2010 than they were in 2005; however, women do so at a higher rate (46% vs. 38%).

What’s more, it appears that men and women may be planning for a different type of retirement. More pre-retired men expect to work—either part-time or full-time—in retirement than pre-retired women (38% vs. 27%). Meanwhile, pre-retired women appear to place importance on being able to volunteer (31% vs. 22%) and spend time with family (77% vs. 68%) during retirement.

Time to Talk Retirement

The study’s findings paint a complicated picture for anyone who’s planning to retire with a spouse or partner. What if you’re planning to retire next year and your mate wants to keep working for another decade? What if you envision a retirement filled with travel and your spouse or partner wants to stay close to home? What happens if you disagree about whether or not you can even afford to retire?

To avoid any unfortunate surprises as you approach or enter into retirement, open up the lines of communication with your spouse or partner about their hopes, fears and level of preparedness for retirement as early as possible. Discussing how you want to spend retirement is not only important from an emotional aspect, but also a financial one. Establishing your goals for the future will help you determine how much money you need to save in order to fund them.

A financial advisor can assist you with writing a financial plan that weaves together your financial objectives and your partner’s. In addition to providing a roadmap to your financial future, it can be an opportunity to learn how he or she envisions retirement. The process may be eye-opening.

Paul A. Pouliot CFP®, CHFC®, CASL®, Senior Financial Advisor, An Ameriprise Platinum Financial ServicesSM practice, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., 116 South River Road | Bedford, NH 03110 / Office: 603.296.0030 | Fax: 603.296.0028 – /

Disclaimer: This communication is published in the United States for residents of AZ, CT, FL, GA, ID, KY, MA, ME, NH, RI, TN, VT and WA only and this advisor is licensed only in the states of AZ, CT, FL, GA, ID, KY, MA, ME, NH, RI, TN, VT and WA

The New Retirement Mindscape IISM and New Retirement Mindscape® studies were commissioned by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive in May 2010 and August 2005 among 2,007 (2010) and 2,000 (2005) U.S. adults age 40-75. The sampling error for the 2010 study is +/-2.5%. The 2005 study was conducted in conjunction with Age Wave and Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D.

This information is provided for informational purposes only. The information is intended to be generic in nature and should not be applied or relied upon in any particular situation without the advice of your tax, legal and/or your financial advisor. Neither Ameriprise Financial nor its advisors or representatives provide tax or legal advice. The views expressed may not be suitable for every situation.

Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. Some products and services may not be available in all jurisdictions or to all clients.

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