Retirement Plans: Men Focus on Cash, Women on Family, Health

A study commissioned by Ameriprise Financial found that when it comes to retirement planning, men focus on the numbers while women tend to plan based on lifestyle goals.

A retirement planning report released Tuesday by Ameriprise Financial, Inc., found that men tend to focus on setting aside money, while women put greater emphasis on health and proximity to family.

Fifty-four percent of the men who responded to Ameriprise's “New Retirement Mindscape 2011 City Pulse Index” survey said that they were setting aside money in their own investments, such as stocks and IRAs, while only 46 percent of women reported having taken that action. Men are also more likely than women to have determined the amount of income they'll need in retirement (31 percent of men and 20 percent of women have made that determination), the study found.

The report said that this additional financial preparation may be one reason why men are “significantly” more likely than women to say they feel on track for retirement (41 percent versus 34 percent) and express confidence in their overall financial futures (22 percent versus 16 percent).

On the other hand, 41 percent of women respondents said they plan to spend more time with family during retirement, compared to 34 percent of male respondents. Women also reported a greater emphasis on maintaining their health as they age and put greater importance on proximity to family while determining where they will retire.

While men and women were found to prepare differently, they both may be “dramatically underestimating” how long they'll need to live on their retirement savings, according to the report. Those surveyed estimate that they'll spend approximately 17 years in retirement, while most financial professionals recommend accumulating enough savings for a 30-year retirement.

Ameriprise Financial offers diversified financial services. It commissioned the study, which was conducted online by New York-based Harris Interactive, Inc., in August; 11,611 Americans aged 40-75 responded to the survey.