Department of Employee Trust Funds
January 21, 2011
Financial Literacy Grant Project
The Social Security Administration recently awarded a joint grant
to the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) and the University
of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security. The grant will
fund a study of working women's patterns of saving and investment
choices, specifically evaluating how best to encourage women to
increase their retirement savings. The Wisconsin
Deferred Compensation program (WDC) is a supplemental retirement
savings program that is available to all active state and university
employees, which is administered by ETF. WDC participants will be
the focus of the study.
Why Study Working
Women as a group save less money for retirement than men, due
in part to a history of shorter work careers, lower earnings and
more conservative investment choices. Among WDC participants, the
average account balance among women is $15,000 less than among men.
Combined with expected longer life spans and growing rates of divorce
after long marriages, lower retirement savings leave women vulnerable
to living at or near poverty levels in retirement. The project scope
includes data analyses, a literature review, focus group sessions
and a survey. It will commence in January and is set for completion
by September. Please consider participating in a survey or focus
group if you are contacted by the UW Center for Financial Security.
The project will provide a better understanding of WDC participants'
saving and investment choices, and will be used by the WDC to help
women increase their retirement savings through the WDC.