Women Pass the Buck on Retirement, Survey Says

ING DIRECT USA & DailyWorth Survey Reveals Nearly 40 Percent of Married Women Rely On Their Spouse or Significant Other to Plan Their Retirement

May 02, 2011, 10:00 ET from ING DIRECT

WILMINGTON, Del., May 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- There is little doubt that women have made significant social and professional gains in the last 50 years. But, a new survey from ING DIRECT and DailyWorth.com reveals that despite these achievements, their financial skills and retirement readiness have not evolved with the times. Many women are out of touch when it comes to the basics of setting up a retirement plan, expressing surprising levels of fear when it comes to their golden years, the survey says.

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Nearly eight in ten (78 percent) women say they lack financial savvy (or they are still learning) about retirement planning. Given this, more than one in three married women admit they hand over the reins for their retirement planning to their spouse or significant other. Still a quarter of women (23 percent) acknowledge that they should pay more attention to retirement planning.

To help determine why some women lack readiness in their retirement planning, the survey revealed that:  

  • Nearly 30 percent have no idea what their main source of retirement income will be.
  • 40 percent of women don't know what kind of retirement lifestyle they want.
  • 49 percent wish they knew more about the basics of investing, including picking the right stocks or funds, and portfolio and risk management.
  • 37 percent of women blame a lack of time, complicated Wall Street jargon and trouble with their everyday expenses as hurdles that prevent them from being investing savvy.  

"Modern Women" Not So Modern After All

A bigger issue of self-identity may help to explain why women seem hands-off about planning for the future. More than six in ten (65 percent) women chose to describe themselves as "traditional" rather than "modern." This mentality, which could explain why many women are not taking ownership of their retirement, seems more 1950s housewife than 21st century woman-in-charge. In fact, more than a third of women gauge whether they're saving enough by relying on their spouse, fulfilling the company 401k match or guessing.

"Women today exude self-confidence in so many aspects of their lives, yet they're apprehensive about taking control of their own retirement," said Cathy MacFarlane, Head of Corporate Relations at ING DIRECT.  "Financial well-being – in the present and the future – needs to rise to the top of women's priority list so that saving and investing becomes part of their routine."  

Modern Woman's Guide to Retirement

Nearly half of women (47 percent) say they rely on friends, family, the media and popular money experts for guidance. To help these women take ownership of their retirement planning, ING DIRECT and DailyWorth have partnered to develop the Modern Woman's Guide to Retirement. This program includes an upcoming event, tips, and customized retirement planning tools. DailyWorth is a daily personal finance email for women and a valued financial source for smart, ambitious, working women who want to simplify and take control of their money.

"The results of this survey suggest that many women are deeply worried about the future, but their anxiety may be having a 'freeze effect,' preventing women from taking action," said MP Dunleavey, Editor-in-chief of DailyWorth.  "ING DIRECT and DailyWorth are both on a mission to arm women with the confidence to create a better financial future for themselves. With the right tools and motivation, we know they can do it."  

Women's Night Out at the ING DIRECT Cafe

The Modern Woman's Guide event will take place May 10, 2011 at 5:30pm at ING DIRECT's Cafe in New York City and will encourage women to better define their retirement goals and develop a personalized plan with tools like Retire My Way. Special guests will include personal finance expert and author Carmen Wong Ulrich and the team from DailyWorth.

Survey Methodology

The national phone survey was conducted within the United States by TNS on behalf of ING DIRECT USA from March 23 through March 27, 2011 and included 1,000 adults age 18+. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.


ING DIRECT, the nation's largest direct bank and largest thrift, is dedicated to inspiring Americans to become a nation of savers. Since its inception in 2000, more than 7.6 million Americans have entrusted their savings with ING DIRECT, building the bank to nearly $91.3 billion in assets.  ING DIRECT has developed a comprehensive social media Savers Community, including Twitter, Facebook and it's We, The Savers blog.  For more information about ING DIRECT call 1-800-ING-DIRECT, and for information about its commitment to financial education visit Planet Orange.  

Style note to Editors: ING DIRECT is always capitalized and never referred to as ING.

ING DIRECT Investing is a leading online brokerage for investors who have long-term financial goals and want to say goodbye to investing complexity.  Whether you're a seasoned investor or just getting started, ING DIRECT Investing has what Americans need to secure their financial future without sacrificing their lives to the stock market. No minimum balance required when you open an account and pay low commissions when investing.  Trade when you want, any amount you want, and what you want – stocks, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, options and retirement solutions. ShareBuilder is a service of ING DIRECT Investing, Inc. Securities products are offered by ING DIRECT Investing, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC.  ING DIRECT Investing is a subsidiary of ING Bank, fsb.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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About DailyWorth

DailyWorth.com is a community of women who discuss money. DailyWorth's 70,000 members receive a daily email in topics ranging from innovative budgeting and saving techniques to investment basics. DailyWorth supplements sound, practical advice with stories and questions from the robust community of subscribers. From Editor-in-Chief MP Dunleavey, a veteran money columnist of The New York Times, to the dynamic founder Amanda Steinberg who candidly shares mistakes she made while frittering away her six figure salary before getting the wake-up call, DailyWorth is strategically positioned to fill the unmet demand for financial advice and community camaraderie in the rapidly emerging women's financial information market. For more on DailyWorth visit www.DailyWorth.com.

Laura DiLello, ING DIRECT