September 28, 2022
  • September 28, 2022

Pandemic has widened gender divide in retirement readiness, TIAA survey finds

By on March 21, 2022 0
  • Only about one in three women (31%) are saving for retirement, compared to 44% of men.
  • More men (35%) are confident they are on track to live comfortably through retirement without running out of money, compared to 19% of women. In a 2013 TIAA survey, each gender’s level of confidence in whether they are saving enough for retirement varied by just 9 percentage points.
  • In total, 80% of men have saved at least some money for their retirement, compared to 63% of women. This is very different from the 2017 data collected by the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). It measured whether men and women aged 55 to 66 had personal retirement savings and found a difference of just 3 percentage points.

“Women are now at greater risk of not being able to retire or running out of money when they do,” said Snezana Zlatar, Head of Consulting Solutions at TIAA. “The bigger this problem gets, the less progress we can make for women and society in general.”

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

The results point to another staggering statistic: once women stop working, their retirement savings and investments generate about 30% less income than men, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). .

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

Not surprisingly, the TIAA survey also found that more women (29%) than men (19%) struggle to pay their monthly bills, including utilities, rent, loan payments and credit card.

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

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

“It is particularly urgent for women to understand the many headwinds they face before retirement so they can take mitigating action as soon 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 lifetime guaranteed income solutions to avoid running out of money in retirement.

About TIAA
TIAA is a leading provider of secure retirement and results-driven investment solutions for millions of people and thousands of institutions. It is the premier not-for-profit provider in the retirement market1paid more than $3.6 billion to retired customers in 2020 and has nearly $1.4 trillion assets under management (as of 12/31/2021)2.


As of December 31, 2020. Based on data from PLANSPONSOR’s 403(b) market research, published August 2021.


As of December 31, 2021, assets under management of Nuveen Investments’ subsidiaries and TIAA’s investment management teams were $1.375 trillion.

TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Member FINRA, distributes securities products. Annuity contracts and certificates are issued by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) and the College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), New York, NY. Each is solely responsible for its own financial situation and contractual obligations.

©2022 Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund, 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Investment, insurance and annuity products are not FDIC insured, are not guaranteed by any bank, are not deposits, are not insured by any federal government agency, are not a condition of any banking service or activity and may lose value.