H.J. Heinz (NYSE:HNZ) has produced more than ketchup in its many years. The wealth it created made the Heinz Family Philanthropies possible, and this organization recently commissioned a study of women and retirement issues (in conjunction with the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement). So what did the National Women's 2005 Retirement Survey find? Here are some tidbits:

  • 38% of women 30-55 years old are worried they will live at or near the poverty level because they cannot adequately save for retirement. This applies to more than half of women of color. (Just 33% of men expressed this same worry.)

  • 52% of women expect to continue to work once they reach retirement age. (Working in retirement is a developing phenomenon for men, as well.)

  • 54% of women report having little to no money left to save for retirement once they pay their bills. This figure is 62% among Hispanic and African-American women.

  • 62% of women believe they are not saving enough for retirement. (This is very likely true -- both men and women are likely to underestimate how much they'll need in retirement.)

Many women are clearly worried, and they have good reason to be. Women tend to earn less, on average, than men during their working lives. They are less likely to have pensions to rely on. They are more likely to spend time (and money) caring for children, grandchildren, or parents -- often staying out of the workforce for years to do so. They also tend to live longer than men -- this all adds up to a tougher retirement financially.

Our golden years don't have to be dim, though. With a little planning and discipline, we can save enough to live more comfortably in retirement. If you don't have a plan in place and aren't on track to have enough to retire on, take advantage of a free trial of our Rule Your Retirement newsletter. Each monthly issue contains lots of valuable tips as well as inspiration and motivation. (You've got little to lose and a lot to gain by trying it for free.)

The lead writer for the newsletter is Robert Brokamp. Check out his friendly and informative style in these articles:

Learn more in our Retirement area. And if the thought of taking control of something as critical as retirement on your own is daunting, seek the help of a financial advisor. Choose carefully, though (we offer some tips), and perhaps try our well-regarded TMF Money Advisor service.

Finally, you can ask questions and get answers on our Retirement Investing discussion board -- or at least drop in and see what other Fools are saying.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.