Women come up against pension saving barriers "at every stage"

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 04:05

Scottish Widows report on women’s pension preparations concludes that the number of women preparing adequately for their retirement is at an all-time low and remains well behind their male counterparts.

The report found that just 40 per cent of women are preparing adequately for retirement, compared to 49 per cent of men and down from 42 per cent in 2012 and 50 per cent in 2013.

The research found that women are coming up against barriers at every stage of life, mostly due to their role in the family that stops them from making adequate provision for their later years.

Lynn Graves, from Scottish Widows, commented: "It is worrying to see that women are continuing to lag behind men in retirement savings. The number of women preparing adequately for retirement has dropped from last year to a record low.”

In their 20’s 54 per cent of women don’t have a pension, spending money repaying debts, on holidays and living expenses instead.

In their 30’s, just 51 per cent of women are working full-time, so pension saving is lower than average during that decade.

During their 40’s, once back working, women are prioritising financial commitments to their children and in their 50’s a quarter of women are still paying off debts before retirement savings.

Ms Graves said: "We have identified the different barriers preventing women from saving at every life stage.

"Of particular concern is the number of women in their 40s who are planning to rely on their partner to help support them in retirement, but are unsure of what their pension provision would be were they to separate. We should encourage these individuals to take full responsibility for their financial independence.”

The ninth annual survey of over 5,000 people found that 37 per cent of women were making no provision whatsoever for their retirement, compared to 27 per cent of men.

Of the women who are saving, they are able to save an average of £182 a month, compared to £260 a month for men, a difference that will lead to a pension savings gap of almost £1,000 a year.

The report found that career breaks and coping with day-to-day household expenses for their family and supporting their children were being prioritised over saving for a pension.

A quarter of women in their 40’s said they were relying on their partner’s retirement income to help support them.

In total, the number of people who are saving adequately for their retirement was little changed from the first time the survey was carried out in 2005, 45 per cent of people, compared to 46 per cent in 2006.

As well as having less opportunity to save into a pension, the survey found that women have less money to use for pension saving.

Scottish Widows found women had an average gross income of £19,200, compared to £28,700 for men.

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