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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 Edited by Jessica Thomas

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

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior 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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