The world is buzzing about the resignation announcement from Pope Benedict XVI. Along with the obvious religious discussion that will take place, this event is also causing many to research and analyze the retirement process.

For example, today American United Life Insurance Company released a retirement plan participant survey that revealed there is a wide gender gap when it comes to confidence in the ability to retire and maintain current lifestyle.

Significantly more men (45 percent) responded they were either “confident” or “very confident” when asked if they believe they will be able to retire and maintain their current lifestyle. Only 33 percent of women gave the same responses. In contrast, 44 percent of women and 36 percent of men say they’re “not sure.”

“These findings help underscore how important it is for plan sponsors to understand where the gaps are in perception, education and confidence in order to target different groups of employees with important messages that help them prepare for retirement,” said Marsha Whitehead, vice president of marketing communications for the retirement services division.