Women investors hit record levels of workplace retirement contributions in the final quarter of 2020, a statistic that stands in contrast to the fact that many are also suffering professionally from the pandemic. The average 401 (k) savings rate for women in the last quarter of 2020 was 9%, up from 8.7% a year earlier, according to Fidelity Investment’s latest quarterly analysis of its clients. For 403 (b) plans, the average savings rate was 7.6%, compared to 6.2% the previous year. Women, who make up 40% of Fidelity’s 401 (k) accounts and 70% of its 403 (b) plans, reached record levels of savings in the latest quarter, the firm said.
Company contributions improved savings rates. When combined with employer contributions, the total savings rate for 401 (k) plans was 13.3% and for 403 (b) plans, 11.4%. For women, the average investor contribution rate to an individual retirement account grew by 4% as of 2019. See: This is why so many women face poverty in their old age This is encouraging, but also conflicts with reports on how women are doing during the pandemic so far. Fidelity has found that while women are saving more in their retirement accounts, nearly 40% of them are considering leaving the workforce or reducing their hours to manage care. Although women accounted for 46% of employment in the US before COVID-19, they also account for 54% of total job losses, according to a report by McKinsey & Co. Women’s jobs run 19% more riskier than men’s, the research firm said. This could be the result of how industries are divided between men and women, the latter may gravitate towards jobs in accommodation, food service, retail, arts, recreation and public administration, all negatively affected by the pandemic. They also predominate in sectors such as health and education. See also: ‘A hit to the body for gender equality’: Childcare centers struggle to reopen, while others may raise prices to survive. COVID-19 has added to the burden on parents, who are juggling childcare and schooling with paid work, but women, in particular, are taking on more household responsibilities, studies show. On average, women spent 15 more hours a week on housework than their male counterparts, or 65 hours vs. 50 hours, in spring 2020, compared to pre-COVID levels, when labor was splitting 35 to 25 hours according to the Boston Consulting Group. Accepting these caregiving responsibilities is not without cost to families. The Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation estimate that the risk of mothers leaving the workforce or reducing their hours amounts to about $ 64.5 billion a year in lost wages.