Transforming retirement

Working life inequality spills into retirement

Headshot of David Tinsley

David Tinsley

Headshot of Vanessa Cook

Vanessa Cook

January 2023

Key takeaways

  • Over the course of their working careers, women and men have different labor market experiences. Women in general tend to earn less than men, while they also tend to spend less time as an active member of the labor market throughout their lives.
  • These labor market inequalities mean women have less time and ability to save for retirement. A recent Bank of America Chief Investment Office (CIO) report1 also indicates that women participate less in 401(k) plans than men and allocate less of their balances to equities.
  • The result is that labor market inequalities may be compounded into retirement. The study finds that women’s 401(k) balances are around two-thirds that of men. This highlights the need for a continued focus on reducing inequality and promoting informed retirement decisions.

Read our full analysis for a more in-depth look at these trends.

1‘Gender Lens in Defined Contribution (DC) Plans’, Bank of America CIO, 2023