TODAY   |  February 06, 2014

Women saving considerably less than men

Financial expert Sharon Epperson tells TODAY that women are contributing less to their 401K retirement plans than men. She offers tips to help women reach their retirement goals.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and this morning on "today's money," women and retirement. did you know there's actually a gender gap when it comes to retirement savings? studies show men are in better shape when it comes to their financial planning . so for help on how to better meet your retirement goals, sharon epperson is here.

>> good morning, good to be here.

>> so women are saving less than men?

>> considerably less than men. women saved on average about $34,000 compared to $70,000 for men. so making less money, working part time, these things are holding women back in saving. and there are a number of other factors as well.

>> i wondered about those factors. if you're making less, obviously you're going to save less. are there other things that explain why women would be saving less?

>> one of the things we looked at is the percentage of pay women are putting into their 401 ks, for instance, is less than men. the amount of trying to get full matching contributions from their employer is also less than men. but they're still being offered the same plans as men and are contributing but just not as much.

>> i read that women are likely to underestimate how much they'll need for retirement.

>> women more than men think they'll need less than $250,000 for retirement and that's according to the employee benefits research institute . what's interesting is we know women are going to live longer, health care costs will be greater and yet we think we need less money for retirement.

>> it was thought provoking. we put the thought out. jenna, what are people asking?

>> theresa wants to know what is a good percent for me to put away from each pay check? i'm 22 and i have a while until retirement.

>> 20% of your gross pay is a good place to start. start by putting that into your workplace plan up to the company's matching contribution to get those free dollars and then put that money into a roth i.r.a. you'll be able to take it out tax free at retirement.

>> 20% is a lot if you're struggling to pay rent and that sort of thing.

>> it is but you need a goal, certainly to drive for. so you look at that number and think how can i get to that number? start small and try to work your way to that goal.

>> jen, what do we have?

>> bad boy says at what point do you recommend people getting out of the stock market and get into cash?

>> a lot of people have that question.

>> with what's happened this year, they're thinking they might want to do that. cnbc did a survey of financial advisers and the majority said their top% is still the stock market and even retirees should have 50% in the stock market . that's something you really want to consider. you don't want to get out of the market and go into cash. you also don't want to take a loan or withdraw money from your 401(k) because that's another thing that we found when reporting on cnbc that sets you back on your financial future .

>> thank you. you're going to stick around and answer more questions?

>> absolutely.

>> if you have a question, just tweet us at #todaymoney.