By many measures, men prepare more actively than women for their retirement while women tend to enjoy their retired years more. That’s according to a new study that suggests that members of both sexes could learn a lot from each other before and during their golden years.

The study, by Bank of Montreal’s BMO Retirement Institute, involved interviews with 1,000 Americans age 45 and older, and posed specific questions of respondents who said they were already retired.

“Men tend to actively monitor their investments,” says Tina Di Vito, who heads up the institute. “But women are more likely to talk to an advisor and take their advice.”

She pointed out that during the recent market downturn, this tendency to hold the course may have benefited women and hurt men who were more likely to react to market fluctuations.

The institute extrapolated from the results to conclude that while women could learn from men, who tend to be more educated about and actively involved in their finances, men could learn from the tendency of women to hold the course. Across the board, Di Vito says, both genders displayed traits that the other would do well to emulate.

Their tendency towards active management led more men to say they felt confident about their retired years. However, their higher expectations for those years may result in less overall satisfaction.

“Women look at their money and ask, ‘How much money do I have and what do I need to survive on?’” according to Di Vito, “whereas men look at market volatility and ask, ‘What will my portfolio produce?’”

Di Vito says the institute surmises that women transition more readily to retirement because they have more intermittent work histories. They have taken time off to raise children and to care for older relatives in their later years. Furthermore, men’s identities are more closely tied to their work, whereas women’s are less so.

“Women have very personal intimate conversations with their social networks. With men, their social networks tend to be around work and they don’t tend to have such intimate conversations,” Di Vito says. “Men look for that social interaction to come from their spouse whereas women say, ‘I will get that [social interaction] from my friends and oh yeah, by the way, from my spouse.’”

Other findings include the following:

-- Men are more likely than women to have investments or to be enrolled in their company’s retirement plan.

-- Men are three times as likely as women to describe their investment style as “aggressive.”

-- When it comes to retirement planning, men are more likely than women to say “I can do this by myself.”

-- Women are more likely to feel more excited and enthusiastic about their retirement journey.

The report, Complementary Paths to Retirement: How men and women can learn from one another is available at the institute’s website. Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization.

Ann Marsh writes for Financial Planning.






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