NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In celebration of National Retirement Planning Week, Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU) hosted a special forum for journalists and congressional staffers on women and retirement readiness today in Washington, D.C. Award-winning journalist and CEO of Starfish Media Group, Soledad O’Brien, moderated the forum and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) offered opening remarks.
During the forum Christine Marcks, President of Prudential Retirement, and Cindy Hounsell, President of the Women’s Institute For A Secure Retirement (WISER), shared their perspectives on women’s retirement preparedness and their confidence in achieving long-term financial goals. Trends from Prudential’s 2014-15 biennial signature research, “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women,” were also explored. This year marks the 15th consecutive year Prudential has been formally researching women’s perspectives, goals and fears about money and retirement.
“Women in particular need to adopt good savings habits, as they're more likely to have career interruptions due to raising families or caring for an elderly parent,” said Marcks at the event. “They also tend to have longer life expectancies than their male counterpoints. That’s why it’s so important for women to start saving for retirement early, save as much as they can and maximize their retirement plan benefits.”
One of the key topics Marcks’ explored during the forum was the “confidence gap”—the difference between the importance women place on financial goals, and the confidence they have in achieving them. According to Prudential’s research, 75 percent of women surveyed stressed the importance of having money to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, but only 14 percent expressed confidence that they will meet that goal.
“That’s a confidence gap of 61 percentage points, virtually unchanged from 10 years ago when it stood at 62 percentage points,” Marcks explained.
During the forum, Marcks also stressed the opportunities available for employers to help close the confidence gap for women. She revealed that participant education and engagement programs offered by employers are increasingly valuable. According to Prudential’s research, 28 percent of women surveyed said they rely on employer-sponsored resources for information about financial and retirement products and services.
Also at the forum, Hounsell discussed challenges that women face in preparing for retirement. “One of the biggest challenges is increased longevity,” Hounsell explained. “Because women are living much longer than in previous generations, they have to develop a plan to ensure they have enough money to sustain themselves in retirement.”
Hounsell noted the plan should incorporate Social Security, a workplace retirement plan, if offered, and an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), and that women should be aware of the rules associated with each savings mechanism. “It’s never too late to develop a plan for retirement. National Retirement Planning Week is an opportune time for women to get started,” said Hounsell.
National Retirement Planning Week, April 13-17, is led by the National Retirement Planning Coalition, a group of prominent education, consumer advocacy and financial services organizations that have joined together to promote and increase awareness of the need for comprehensive retirement planning.
In addition to Prudential, numerous other companies and organizations are celebrating National Retirement Planning Week with several events throughout the week. For example, The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) will convene a retirement security discussion during a Capitol Hill luncheon event at noon on April 15. On April 16, IRI and HealthView Services will host Health Care in Retirement Day, which will feature a continuing education webinar for financial professionals.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of December 31, 2014, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit www.news.prudential.com.