Pandemic Deepened Gender Divide in Retirement Readiness, TIAA Survey Shows

Only 19% of Women Say They’re on Track to Retire Without Running Out of Money, Barely Half the Percentage of Men

NEW YORK, March 21, 2022 – Women have long lagged behind men in how much they’re able to save for retirement, but a new TIAA survey reveals how the pandemic further widened the gap. 

The 2022 TIAA Financial Wellness SurveyOpens pdf  highlights the problem:

  • Only about one in three women (31%) are saving for retirement, compared to 44% of men.
  • More men (35%) feel confident they’re on track to live comfortably throughout retirement without running out of money, compared to 19% of women. In a 2013 TIAA survey, each gender’s confidence level of whether they’re saving enough for retirement varied by only 9 percentage points.
  • All told, 80% of men have saved at least some money for retirement, compared to 63% of women. That’s significantly different than 2017 data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)Opens in a new window. It measured whether men and women ages 55 to 66 had any personal retirement savings and found a difference of only 3 percentage points. 

“Women now face a greater risk of either not being able to retire or running out of money when they do,” said Snezana Zlatar, TIAA’s head of Advice Solutions. “The more this problem grows, the less we can make progress for women and society overall.” 

An independent research firm conducted the TIAA study, polling 3,008 Americans ages 18 and older on a range of financial management topics. 

The findings underscore another staggering statisticOpens in a new window: Once women stop working, their retirement savings and investments generate about 30% less income than men’s, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

The pandemic made matters worse, as nearly 2 million women have left the workforce since 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many women needed to help raise children or care for elderly relatives, but much of their lost earnings and savings will never be recovered. 

Not surprisingly, the TIAA survey also found that more women (29%) than men (19%) have trouble paying monthly bills, including utilities, rent, loan payments and credit cards. 

And while both men and women said they would like to work with financial planners or investment advisors, only 22% of women do, compared to 36% of men, illustrating yet another potential hurdle to financial health women face. 

The survey results reinforce the reason TIAA joined forces earlier this month with some of the most influential players and coaches in the WNBA and NCAA to highlight the gap in women’s retirement readiness. The new effort will help inspire, educate and challenge everyone to #retireinequality. 

“It’s particularly urgent that women understand the numerous headwinds they face ahead of retirement so they can take mitigating action as early as possible,” Zlatar said. “There are different ways for women to get help, such as participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans and financial wellness programs, and contributing to guaranteed lifetime income solutions to help avoid running out of money in retirement.” 

About TIAA

TIAA is a leading provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people and thousands of institutions.  It is the #1 not-for-profit retirement market provider1, paid more than $3.6 billion to retired clients in 2020 and has nearly $1.4 trillion in assets under management (as of 12/31/2021)2

Press contact

Peter Smolowitz
media@tiaa.orgOpens Email

1 As of Dec. 31, 2020. Based on data in PLANSPONSOR’s 403(b) Market Survey, which published in August 2021.
2 As of December 31, 2021 assets under management across Nuveen Investments affiliates and TIAA investment management teams are $1,375 trillion. 

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