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May 1, 2017

Men Save More Than Women. What’s Behind This Gender Savings Gap?

401k advisors capital management maryland

Scarborough Capital Management’s recent survey found that not only were women more likely to have less saved in their 401(k) than men, but 17.1% of men spend 10 hours a year managing their 401(k) while only 6.2% of women spend an equivalent amount of time.

According to Joshua Goldsmith, CFP®, CRPC®, a financial planner with Scarborough Capital Management, there’s an important factor that allows for this gap. “The main reason is one that is unfortunate and is a subject that has been discussed a lot lately. In the past women typically were not given a fair shot at opportunities for jobs, promotions and income. This affected how much, on average, a woman could save in her 401(k) relative to men,” says Goldsmith.

Even though this has been the case for a while, fortunately, strides are being made in the right direction to close this gap. Goldsmith explains, “As mentioned earlier, the good news is women are starting to gain more opportunities in jobs, promotions, and income due to increased awareness about this problem that has gone on too long. This in turn has increased the average balance that women have in their 401(k)s now compared to the past.”

According to Gregory Ostrowski, CFP®, CRPC®, a financial planner with Scarborough Capital Management, one of the best things men or women can do to potentially improve their results is to delegate the responsibility. “A group like ours can help facilitate a better understanding of the options you have to save and in which to invest. Further, we can do it with you and for you. We’ll counsel clients along the way, educating them on their various assets, but helping take the burden off them,” says Ostrowski.

In addition to helping investors have more confidence with professional help, there’s even more that can be done. Ostrowski believes that in order to have investors see the best results, education and engagement are key. “We find that the more our clients understand how to best use the tools their employer has given them, the more they engage in developing a broader financial plan.”

This lack of education can be detrimental. “For example, many 401(k) plan designs leave an employee completely overwhelmed, often resulting in “analysis paralysis” or simply accepting of a “default” investment choice if given the option. Many times, the default option is a cash-type instrument. If I’m only earning 1 or 2% on my money over the course of my career versus 6 or 7%, we’re talking an entirely different outcome (and lifestyle),” warns Ostrowski.

“I don’t know if there is a “one size fits all” for everybody in regards to time spent managing your 401(k).” says Goldsmith. The Annapolis-based financial planner advocates for professional help, and explains, “We spend the time researching your investments and working with you to see if any changes in the market, economy or your life might warrant something else other than a simple rebalance.”

It appears that even though steps are being taken to try to close the gender savings gap, there’s still much work to be done.

The full results of the survey can be found at



Research Now conducted a nationally representative digital survey on behalf of Scarborough Capital Management. The survey was conducted from February 10, 2016, through February 17, 2016, and consisted of 1,004 Americans throughout the United States older than 18 with 401(k)s. The margin of error is +/- 3% for the national sample.


About Scarborough Capital Management

For over two decades, Scarborough Capital Management has provided comprehensive wealth management services to busy individuals and families who don’t have the time to develop and manage a portfolio. What sets the company apart is its inherent interest in helping everyone from mid-level employees to top-tier executives prepare for retirement. Scarborough Capital Management’s services include a comprehensive array of financial planning support for people in all stages of life, including 401(k) and 403(b) Management, Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Management, Wealth Management, Personal Pension Analysis, Social Security Analysis and Financial Planning. Advisory services are offered through Scarborough Capital Management (SCM), a Registered Investment Advisor. For more information about Scarborough Capital Management, visit

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