Some Retirees Are More Likely to Face This 'Life-Destroying' Event — Here's How to Keep Your Savings Safe No Matter What About 55% of Americans believe they're behind on retirement savings, and some common curveballs can exacerbate the situation.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • More women (50%) say they're not on track with retirement savings compared to men (35%).
  • Women are also more likely to face curveballs, like losing a spouse or becoming a caregiver.

Americans with retirement accounts believe they need an average of $1.8 million socked away to retire, according to a Charles Schwab study reported by CBS News — and about 55% of them say they're behind on saving, per a recent Bankrate survey.

For women, that feeling is even more common, with 50% of them saying they're not on track with retirement savings compared to just 35% of men, a new report from Goldman Sachs revealed.

What's more, women are more likely to face challenges that could throw them even further off the savings course — from losing a spouse or partner to becoming a caregiver, according to recent research from financial services firm Edward Jones and aging research provider Age Wave, CNBC reported.

Related: Retired Couple Shares Side Hustle That Brings in Thousands

The research found that having a spouse or partner pass away is the most common curveball for both men and women, but women are twice as likely to be widowed.

Assuming a caregiver role also disproportionately affects women; a majority of them said it was a "life-destroying" event both from a financial and life standpoint, Lena Haas, head of wealth management advice and solutions at Edward Jones, said.

Women are also more likely to need more retirement savings: 57% of all those ages 65 and older are female, and the average lifespan is about five years longer for women than men in the U.S., according to Harvard Health.

Related: Top 20 States For Retirees That Are 'Better' Than Florida

The best way to safeguard your finances no matter what happens? Seek out a professional financial advisor and identify important questions that should be asked, considering key details like emergency funds, life insurance and long-term care insurance, Haas told CNBC.

Be sure to use an employer's benefits department as a resource too; it can help you find out what's available to you, Heather Ettinger, chairwoman of Fairport Wealth in Cleveland, Ohio, told the outlet.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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