Women, Retirement and What Still Needs to Be Done

It’s well studied that factors like debt and financial uncertainty impact the way people feel about retirement and prepare for it. In this series, BlackRock explores insights from our 2021 DC Pulse research and additional work with the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) to recognize inequitable effects and find ways to build a better retirement for all.

The wage and wealth gap for women is well known, and the retirement savings gap is just as pronounced, especially since it spans across racial and income lines.

Understanding the factors that perpetuate this gap could help lead to solutions. This year, BlackRock fielded one survey, its 2021 DC Pulse survey and sponsored another, the 2021 EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey, both of which uncovered insights about women and retirement. This research is particularly germane, since women often live longer and typically enter retirement with lower asset balances.

Resolving this issue is multifaceted, but we in the retirement industry can work to improve it by:

  • Increasing access to retirement plans
  • Increasing the prevalence of lifetime income options in retirement plans

“We cannot afford to overlook the fact that the retirement crisis is a women’s crisis – one that has been exacerbated by COVID,” said Anne Ackerley, who is Head of BlackRock’s Retirement Group, in a LinkedIn post earlier this year.

People want to save for and have a comfortable retirement, but unfortunately, competing financial priorities often detract from that goal. Between the EBRI data and BlackRock’s DC Pulse research, a few themes emerged.