Despite showing more signs of stress than men when approaching retirement, women are still more positive about embracing their golden years, according to a recent study.

Women experience negative feelings of loneliness, frustration, sadness and nervousness, the study by MassMutual Retirement says. However, the study also finds that female clients, even with their frustrations, are more open to retirement planning than men.

They embrace the retirement phase by enjoying new opportunities, spending more time with friends and families, and reinventing themselves in the latter half of their lives, according to the study, Parallel Lives: How Men and Women Experience Retirement Differently. The study is part of a larger research project conducted on the behalf of MassMutual by Greenwald & Associates.


Women, generally, have higher expectations of life after retirement. Around 90%  say that before retirement, they envision enjoying themselves or having more free time.

The realities, however, are that around 80% of those women actually enjoy themselves,  and only 76% say they have more free time, post-retirement.  The study, finds about 20% of women say they were at least fairly stressed in retirement compared, to 15% of men.

But people report more positive emotions when they have a defined contribution plan, compared to those who do not have one. The percentage of participants feeling 'extremely' or 'quite a bit' happy or relaxed, is around 70, and for those who did not have a plan, 60.

The study did not find a correlation between the emotional well-being and the participants’ retirement assets worth.

Mass Mutual executive vice president and retirement services chairperson Elaine Sarsynski suggests that pre-retirees spend more time with those already retired for a glimpse at what may come, and how to get prepared for it.

She recommends pre-retirees keep track of all their expenses, especially those involving vacation and entertainment. These will help them better understand the cost and feasibility of such activities in the post-retirement period.

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