Although no one is saving well for retirement, a new study from Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies reveals that single women are particularly vulnerable.

It is a group that employers will need to plug into specifically for retirement communications, as research shows the majority of adult women are now single (51% were living without a spouse in 2005), and 10.4 million are single mothers.

Transamerica finds the amount single women say they will need to save for retirement ranges from less than $100,000 to $2 million, with the median being $500,000. However, 60% guessed at that number, while only 6% used a retirement calculator or spoke to a financial advisor. The study also finds that more than one-fifth of single women (21%) didn´t start saving for retirement until age 40 or later, and that the median contribution rate is 6% across all age groups.

These are scary statistics that employers must pay attention to. These women have only themselves to rely on financially, and many are caring for children on their own. Plus, research shows that even if they do ultimately marry/remarry, they likely will outlive their spouse.

With that in mind, I encourage employers to take cues from some school educators that are separating children into boys and girls classrooms. Studies show that both groups fare much better in same-sex environments, for multiple reasons, and I think the same could be true of men and women when it comes to retirement education.

Granted, the tools and techniques for saving and investing adequately are the same, regardless of gender. However, how those techniques are learned may very well be gender-specific, and perhaps all employees might benefit from separate messaging. Clearly, gender-neutral education and communication hasn´t worked very effectively. Let´s give something new a shot.

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