Women remain at a higher risk for retirement insecurity than men.  That risk can be reduced with the combination of a traditional pension, supplemental 401(k)-type individual savings, and Social Security.

Shattering the Retirement Glass Ceiling: Women Need a Three-Legged Stool,” examines the specific challenges facing women in retirement and assesses the policies that may help increase retirement security for women.

The research finds achieving retirement security often is more challenging for women than men and includes the following key findings:

  • Women need to accumulate more retirement assets than men because they often to live longer. But, acquiring enough assets is more difficult because women still have lower wages and less access to retirement plans during their working years as compared to men
  • Defined benefit (DB) pension plans provide benefits and protections that are especially important for women – spousal protections and a lifetime income stream that cannot be outlived.
  • Supplemental defined contribution (DC) savings plans like 401(k) accounts offer portability of assets, which is an important tool for women who may move in and out of the workforce more so than men.
  • Attaining the “three-legged retirement stool” – Social Security, a traditional DB pension, and supplemental DC savings – offers the greatest opportunity for women to achieve security in retirement.