Men and women are preparing for retirement in very different ways, according to findings from Ameriprise Financial. While men outpace women in planning for the financial aspects of retirement (77% vs. 72%), women are more likely to say they've thought about what they'd like to do during retirement. And though a mere 22% of Americans report confidence in reaching their retirement goals, men are significantly more likely than women to report this sentiment (25% vs. 19%).

"Financial preparation can help instill confidence in reaching your retirement goals — and rightfully so — but thinking about how you'd like to spend your time and where you're going to live can have a dramatic impact on your overall readiness," says Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial. "The activities you plan to pursue during retirement will likely have associated expenses. Failing to consider these can have significant consequences."

More than half of men (54%) report setting aside money in their own investments (such as stocks and IRA's) compared to 46% of women who say they've done the same. Women are more likely to report that family and health taking a prominent role in their planning. Women are significantly more likely than men to say they plan to spend more time with family during retirement (41% vs. 34%) and that proximity to family is a very important factor in determining where they will retire (40% vs. 27%). They are also more likely than men to place importance on their proximity to friends and other retirees (21% vs. 13%).

Women also report a greater emphasis on maintaining their health as they age. More than half (54%) are making plans to ensure they stay healthy during retirement, compared to 48% of men, and women are more likely to rate access to health care options and facilities as a very important factor to consider when deciding where to retire (38% vs. 32%). Women are also more likely to say they've spent time determining how they will rest and relax in retirement (25% vs. 19%) — an important part of preparing mentally for the retirement process.

While men and women are preparing differently, they both may be dramatically underestimating how long they'll need to live on their retirement savings. Those surveyed estimate that they'll spend approximately 17 years in retirement while most financial professionals recommend accumulating enough savings for a 30-year retirement.

"It's especially important that women begin saving early and plan for a longer retirement because they have longer average life spans and spend more time out of the workforce," says de Baca. "And regardless of your gender, be sure to share your retirement plans and expectations with your loved ones. Being on the same page with your family can make achieving your goals much simpler and even more enjoyable."

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