Pensions: Women unable to plan for retirement as effectively as men


Silver sex symbolsNew research has shown that the gap between the ability of men and women to save for their retirement is getting wider.

The latest Scottish Widows Women & Retirement Report revealed that:

  • 52% of women are now saving adequately for their retirement, compared to 60% of men
  • Only 42% of divorced women are able to save adequately for retirement
  • The number of self-employed woman has risen by 22% over the past four years, however only 36% are able to save enough money for their retirement

The gender gap widens

The report illustrates the stark divide, which is widening, between the ability of men and women to save for their retirement.

Whilst 52% of women can save enough for their retirement, this figure rises to 60% of men. Worryingly, the gap is widening; two years ago, when the survey was last completed, the comparative figures were 50% and 55%.

Women are also more pessimistic about their financial future. 57% are concerned they are not saving enough for retirement, which drops to 41% amongst men.

Why are women able to save less?

The report highlights several reasons why women can save less for retirement.

Firstly, the rate of self-employment has risen twice as fast amongst women than it has men. It is well known that the self-employed find it harder to pay into their pension, as their income fluctuates more than it does for employees.

There are no signs that the situation will get better for self-employed women either, with 62% believing they won’t be able to save more for their retirement over the next 12 months.

Secondly, a higher proportion of women, than men, work on a part-time basis or have multiple jobs. This naturally leads to lower income levels, often meaning women miss out on the benefits of Automatic Enrolment, because they must earn over £10,000 to be included in such schemes.

Finally, only 42% of divorced women are able to save adequately for their retirement, 5% lower than men in the same situation.

Commenting on the report Jackie Leiper, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, said: “It is encouraging to see that over half of women are making sufficient savings towards their retirement, but a growing savings gap persists in the UK. It’s vital that we address this to ensure women feel reassured about their finances and prepared for retirement, whether they are self-employed, work for a large employer, are divorced, married or single.”

“More also needs to be done to make certain that Automatic Enrolment does not marginalise female savers who may not qualify for the threshold. And this means we need to engage innovatively with female millennial savers, who are just beginning to put money aside for their retirement. Our research shows they are crying out for information, and learning good savings habits now will help ensure they are better prepared for later life. Providers, employers and the government alike must also explore further initiatives to help women of all ages save in other ways if they don’t qualify for a workplace pension.”

We are here to help

If you are worried about saving for your retirement, we certainly understand your concerns and are here to help.

Call Sarah or Bev on 0115 933 8433 or email