Men might have been tempted to breathe a sigh of relief when reading a recent report from the National Institute on Retirement Security detailing how insecure women's retirements look. Here's some of the bad news:

  • A woman who earns $50,000 per year needs to save $1,000 more per year than a man earning $50,000 due to her longer life expectancy. 
  • At the same time, according to a 2007 study, full-time female workers earn only 76% of what similar male workers earn. The deck seems stacked against them!
  • Most useful to most women are pensions, as they provide lifetime income. Well, that stinks, since pensions seem to be going the way of the saber-toothed tiger. If you want one, you'll probably have to build your own.
  • A 2008 survey found that only 68% of women had saved for retirement at some point, that 59% of women were currently saving, and 58% of women were contributing to a retirement account through their employer. All those figures were significantly lower than comparable ones for men.
  • Per a Hewitt Associates survey, women averaged $56,320 in their 401(k) accounts, versus more than $100,000 for men.

See? It's not looking good for women. So it's better to be a man, right? Well, maybe not that much. Look at some of those facts again. Women are losing pensions, but so are men. Only 76% of men have ever saved for retirement, and only 70% are saving now. Not even two-thirds of men are contributing to a workplace retirement account.

Fortunately, no matter your gender, you can salvage your retirement -- by saving aggressively and investing sensibly, beginning today. You might look for some companies with solid dividend yields and dividend growth rates, to start. Perhaps look further into the following:


CAPS Stars (out of five)

Dividend Yield

5-Year Dividend Growth Rate

Aflac (NYSE:AFL)




Kraft (NYSE:KFT)




Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)




Clorox (NYSE:CLX)








Portugal Telecom (NYSE:PT)




Travelers (NYSE:TRV)




Data: Motley Fool CAPS, Yahoo! Finance.

Whether you're a man or a woman, don't assume all is well with your retirement. Learn how to plan effectively for some truly golden years in The Motley Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter, which you can try for free

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Aflac is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Coca-Cola and Paychex are recommendations of both Motley Fool Inside Value and Motley Fool Income Investor. Kraft Foods is a former Income Investor pick. Portugal Telecom is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.