There is a gender gap on 401(k) deferrals

There is a gender gap with 401(k) deferrals and auto-enrollment might be the way to curb that.

In 401(k) plans without automatic enrollment, men lag behind women in participation rates at all income levels, most notably below $150,000.

The largest difference is in the $50,000-to-$74,999 income range, with 81% of women participating versus 67% of men.

However, the average 401(k) balance among men in 2021 was $93,512, compared with $70,037 among women, the Vanguard research shows. That’s because men make more money than women and they actually have a slightly higher deferral rate too (7.5 vs 7.0%).

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