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Women Better at Day-to-Day Saving, But Have Less to Retire On

Brian O'Connell

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Women are better at saving, but it's getting in the way of their long-term retirement planning.

BlackRock surveyed 17,500 people -- including 9,000 women from around the world and 4,000 women from the U.S. -- and found that women see personal financial issues as important on a "day-to-day" basis, especially when it comes to saving and paying down credit card debt.

That may be laudable, but globally men are more likely to emphasize long-term savings (59% do) than women (52% do), according to the survey, and in the U.S. that gap grows wider: 55% of men here have started saving for retirement and have a plan in place, as opposed to 45% of U.S. women.

"Simply put, when it comes to money, women and men today see the world quite differently," says Sue Thompson, a managing director at BlackRock. "Women have a profoundly sober financial perspective, apparently more influenced than men by the realities of today's market volatility and ongoing economic uncertainty."

The survey suggests, but doesn't flat-out say, that women take that view of their long-term financial picture because their immediate financial position seems fragile.

BlackRock says women are way more likely than men to choose "negative terms" to describe their finances, with terms such as "nervous," "sober," "pessimistic" and "frustrated" appearing frequently.

That stops women from taking risks to increase their financial fortunes. Black Rock says only 22% of women across the world are "willing to take on higher risks to achieve higher rewards," so instead of investing in stocks, they put all their money in the bank.

But bank certificates of deposit average around 0.19% these days, according to the BankingMyWay.com CD Rate Tracker, and that figure has been roughly consistent for the past few years. Meanwhile, stocks have risen at a double-digit rate as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 index, with five-year returns hitting 21.53% recently.

Women's behavior is going to have to change if they are to meet long-term financial needs. While times are tough, more women still have to take a wider lens to their personal finances, and do a better job of balancing their day-to-day financial obligations with the necessity of meeting their long-term financial obligations.

"They place greater emphasis than men on day-to-day financial planning and maintaining the household balance sheet," Thompson says of women, "but this focus also seems to undercut engagement around longer-horizon activities such as retirement planning as well as investment," she says.

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