In the USA in 2011, the average IRA owned by a man had a balance of $114,745 while the average balance for a woman was $66,529. At age 70, median balances were $72,971 for men and $42,926 for women.
There are several reasons why women need to save more aggressively than their male counterparts. Here are some:
1. Women often have fewer years in the workforce
Many women don't earn as much as men and often end up working less because they take time off to have children at some point during their careers. This means in order to have more in retirement, more of income earned while working needs to be saved according to financial planners. Tough when money is needed for running the home, easier if a women is in a relationship where both parties contribute to the home. A better solution, pay women more money when they are working, close the gender gap.
2. Women may be more conservative in their investments
Women have a tendency to be more conservative then most men, when investing. While conservative investing can keep money safe, it may also mean women don't earn high enough returns to build a comfortable nest egg. The conservative approach works because women tend to ask more questions and be more likely to stick with their investment decisions, which can be a good thing in a tumultuous market environment. Women may be encouraged to take larger risks when investing, but this only benefits the sellers of financial products. Over the long term a conservative investor can do well if they aim for a rate of return that is one or two points higher than inflation.