Help women boost retirement confidence

Women’s retirement confidence lags behind men’s, but you can take steps to help women feel more prepared for the future.

Retirement confidence gender gap

The Consumer Retirement Index is 25% as of the first quarter of 2020, but a deeper look reveals a gender gap. Among working-age men, 37% are very or extremely confident about retirement, compared to only 28% of working-age women.1

We see this trend in other Lincoln research. In early 2020, we asked Americans to rate their retirement saving in the past year. 44% of men surveyed gave themselves an A or B grade, compared to 39% of women.2

How Americans grade themselves on saving for retirement3

Women: A 11%, B 28%, C 26%, D 18%, F 17%. Men: A 14%, B 30%, C 25%, D 14%, F 17%.


There’s also a savings gender gap

Women tend to have lower account balances, too. Compared to men, women are half as likely to have $250K or more saved for retirement in their current employer’s plan.4

Account balance in current employer’s plan5

Less than $100,000: women 55%, men 45%. $100,000-$249,999: women 17%, men 18%. $250,000-$499,999: women 9%, men 17%. $500,000 or more: women 6%, men 13%. Prefer not to answer: women 14%, men 7%.


29% of women said they don’t know how much to save for retirement.6 Of those who do have an idea of how much, 64% of women are saving less than they think they need to save to be on track.7

How to boost retirement confidence

You can take specific actions to help women boost retirement confidence.

Encourage goal setting

Participants who set goals are 3 times more likely to save 15%+ and 1.4 times more likely to be confident.8 Setting goals can help participants make incremental increases so it’s easier for them to reach their goal contribution amounts over time. Celebrating incremental increases can help inspire feelings of optimism and confidence about retirement.

Share Lincoln resources with participants

These materials can help women overcome a variety of challenges they may face.

Encourage use of online tools

Personalized tools help participants take action. 

  • The retirement income estimator in participant online accounts can help simplify goal setting. The tool quickly shows participants if they’re on track and helps them figure out how much they may need to save.
  • The Debt repayment calculator may help participants who feel overwhelmed by saving for retirement while also paying down debt and balancing other priorities.
  • Our financial wellness tool, Lincoln WellnessPATH® , allows participants to manage all their financial priorities, including retirement.

Encourage roll-ins

21% of women still have savings in a former employer’s plan, and some still manage two or more accounts with previous employers.9 Asset consolidation can ease the complexity of managing multiple accounts.

Tips apply to all employees

This piece focuses on women, but these recommendations can help all participants. Though men outpace women when it comes to confidence, savings rates, and feeling positive about retirement, all participants can benefit from help.

1 CivicScience, data collected from 1/1/2019 to 12/19/2019.
2 Personal Finance Pulse, Lincoln Financial and CivicScience, 2020.
3 Ibid.
4 Lincoln Retirement Power® Participant Study, 2019.
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.

Due to rounding, numbers presented throughout this and other documents may not add up precisely to the totals provided, and percentages may not precisely reflect the absolute figures.