Although women live longer than men, they save less than men do for retirement, but, a study finds if financial education is provided to women, that gap will likely become smaller, in some cases by more than half. A Center for Retirement Research at Boston College study analyzed data from 31,000 public sector employees in Wisconsin. Several of the state agencies implemented an educational effort called Embracing and Promoting Options for Women to Enhance Retirement (EMPOWER).
Researchers studied the effects of EMPOWER by combing through data before and after implementation and at agencies that implemented the program versus agencies that did not. According to the study, Wisconsin state workers are required to contribute to a pension fund, but 47 percent also participate in a deferred compensation account, similar to 401(k). The median contribution was 1.6 percent of earnings each month before EMPOWER was implemented. Afterwards, contributions went up 2.6 percentage points, which closed the gender gap in participation by more than half.