Surprising Number of Adults See Quarter-Million Dollars as Sufficient Nest Egg

By Staff Report

Apr. 12, 2010

Women and men are about equally likely to say that they’re saving for retirement. Men are more confident, however, that they’re doing a good job of preparing to retire.

And a surprising number of both men and women believe they’ll be able to retire on less than $250,000.

Those are some of the results of a poll of 1,153 workers and retirees conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. EBRI found that 71 percent of the polled men and 68 percent of the women said they have saved for retirement. Fully 62 percent of the men said they are currently saving for retirement, while 58 percent of the women said the same.

Both sexes are also on fairly equal ground when it comes to assessing how much money they felt is necessary to retire. About a quarter of both groups felt they will need between $500,000 and $999,999 in order to stop working.

But the biggest slice of the respondents—32 percent of women and 27 percent of men—said they could retire with less than $250,000.

About one out of four of the male respondents believe that they are doing a “good job” preparing for retirement, and 14 percent think they’ve saved enough to mange medical expenses. An additional 15 percent of men predict they’ll have enough money to pay for long-term care during retirement.

Women have a bleaker outlook: 17 percent feel that they are doing a “good job” of getting ready for retirement. The outlook is less sanguine on health costs: 10 percent of women feel they will have enough money to handle medical costs, while only 4 percent feel they’ll have sufficient cash to pay for long-term care.

There are a number of possible factors behind the contrasting view. For instance, women spend less time in the workforce than men, and they have longer life spans, noted Stephen Blakely, managing editor at EBRI.

“Some gender differences are narrowing over the years, as women in recent years are spending more time in the workforce than their mothers and grandmothers,” he said.


Filed by Darla Machado of Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail


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