Survey Finds Inflation as the Biggest Retirement Worry for Working Women

Serious business woman on the phone as she looks away from the camera.

According to the Nationwide Retirement Institute’s Advisor Authority survey conducted by The Harris Poll, women investors are increasingly worried about the possibility of a recession in the United States.

More than 40% of women respondents believe that the country is facing a financial crisis, while 24% think we are on the brink of one. As a result, many women feel uncertain about their retirement plans, with less than half (45%) indicating that they have a strategy to safeguard their assets against market risk in 2023.

These findings highlight the urgent need for women to take proactive steps toward securing their financial future amid economic uncertainty.

Unique Challenges for Women

The survey found that women are aware of the unique retirement challenges they face.

  • Funding more years in retirement than men, including higher health care costs, since women live longer on average.
  • Lower savings due to historical wage gaps and more time out of the workforce for caregiving duties.

Major Concerns

The survey polled non-retired women to find the reasons that are concerning them about the economy and driving a lack of optimism about retirement.

The results indicate that inflation is considered the most pressing concern for retirement portfolios among over half (54%) of non-retired women investors, with economic recession (38%) and market volatility (21%) being identified as subsequent challenges.

Planning for Retirement

Non-retired women are adjusting their approaches to saving for retirement to weather a potential financial storm, as per the survey.

  1. Lower expenses: To prioritize saving more for retirement, 31% of non-retired women investors plan to steer clear of unnecessary expenses over the next 12 months.
  2. Reduce risk: 28% say they will manage their investments more conservatively.
  3. Manage with less: Despite facing increasing expenses, 82% of non-retired women intend to keep their retirement savings intact for the long-term and refrain from withdrawing money prematurely to meet their current financial needs.
  4. Relocate: Surprisingly, over 12% of non-retired women said they plan to move somewhere with a lower cost of living within the next 12 months. For comparison, only 8.4% of Americans moved in 2021.

Are Recession Fears Real?

Commenting on the survey results, Mark Hackett, Nationwide’s Chief of Investment Research, believes that a recession is likely to begin at some point in 2023, but he predicts that the impact will be less extreme than some of the more recent recessionary environments.

In addition, USA Today reported findings from a survey of 48 economists conducted by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) in February. The survey found that 58% believe there is more than a 50% chance of a downturn in the next 12 months, which is similar to the December survey. However, only 28% expect a slump to begin in the first quarter, compared to 52% in December.

Instead, 33% predict a recession will start in the second quarter and 21% say it will begin in the third quarter. This improved forecast is due in part to the January jobs report, which showed a surprising increase of 517,000 jobs and a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.4%, a 54-year low. This suggests a more vibrant employment market than previously thought.

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This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

Ash & Pri are the Founders of and have spent the last decade building their way towards financial freedom and a lifetime of memories. Having successfully achieved their early retirement goal in under 10 years, they look forward to sharing their financial sense with like-minded people. Read more about Ash & Pri in the 'About Us' section.