Finances: The Savings Gap

Women's retirement issues

A small business owner's gender may affect his or her retirement outlook, according to an online survey from ShareBuilder, a Bellevue (Wash.) brokerage and retirement plan pro-vider, and Harris Interactive. The survey found that women entrepreneurs prepare less for retirement than do men, and also that they're less likely to help employees plan for those years when they're no longer working. Nearly 60% of female business owners say they are not confident they're saving enough for retirement, compared with 41% of men. What's more, 22% of women entrepreneurs have no retirement investments, compared with 10% of men. And only 25% of women who don't offer retirement benefits have talked to their employees about them, vs. 45% of men. Both sets of entrepreneurs run similar-sized companies.

The bottom line is that women entrepreneurs should pay more attention to retirement planning. "Women need to be as confident as men about retirement, and as proactive," says Jeff Seely, chairman and chief executive of ShareBuilder.

The news isn't all bad. Seely says twice as many women as men say they'd respond to employee demands for a 401(k) plan—even though they may neglect their own planning.

By Jeremy Quittner

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