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Powell: How women can improve their retirement income literacy

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If Sam Cooke were alive today, he might have to add a new line to his song, Wonderful World. Hemight have to add, though it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, this sentence: Don’t know much about retirement.

That’s right. About three in four (74%) Americans failed a 38-question retirement literacy quiz published as part of the survey by the American College of Financial Services New York Life Center for Retirement Income. In fact, respondents to the survey answered on average slightly less than half the questions correctly.

To be fair, older Americans do know some things about retirement, according to the survey. For instance:

  • Majorities answered housing questions correctly.
  • Most older Americans are knowledgeable about Medicare issues.
  • Older Americans are also more apt to understand the principle of inflation.
But one of the more worrisome findings is the retirement literacy of women as compared to men. Only 18% of women passed the retirement literacy quiz compared to 35% of men.  So, what can women do to become knowledgeable about money?


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