Pensions - Articles - Women are struggling to save for comfortable retirement

Research carried out by JLT Employee Benefits (JLT) has revealed a worrying level of uncertainty amongst female savers as to whether they have saved enough for a comfortable standard of living when they retire.

 The findings - launched on International Women’s Day on 8th March - were conducted by JLT in a nationwide survey to assess the current level of understanding and attitudes amongst 40-65 year olds with regard to their pension savings. Whilst the majority of middle-aged Brits were set to enter retirement with inadequate savings, it was women that were shown to be worse off.

 Although close to retirement age, nearly half of women surveyed (45%) could not estimate what their total pension savings will be at retirement – 10% higher than the male respondents.

 Furthermore, over a third of women (35%) didn’t know what proportion the state pension would represent their total retirement income, and this compares to just under a quarter of men (24%). Of those who did specify, only 15% of women thought the state pension would represent over half of their total pension income – which at £159.55 a week could mean many women may have a nasty shock when they retire.

 Over three quarters of the women surveyed (78%) said they had not received enough information about retirement planning throughout their working life, and this compared to 67% of the men who took part in the survey. Over a third of women (38%) thought that they had not received enough support from their employer regarding understanding their pension savings, compared to 31% of men.

 Maria Nazarova-Doyle, Head of Defined Contribution Investment Consulting for JLT Employee Benefits, said: “More conversations need to be had around how we can ensure women in the workplace are not at a disadvantage when saving for retirement. Whilst many businesses have introduced family-friendly initiatives and are helping women progress into senior roles, those closer to retirement age most likely didn’t have these advantages - and their pension pot will have suffered as a result.

 “Employers also have a role here as women with private pensions could potentially feel greater impact from taking a career break. Time away from work could result in missing out on pay rises or career advancement opportunities, and a lower salary will mean their pension contributions will be reduced.

 “We also need to recognise that guidance and advice on pension savings has to go beyond the traditional workplace. With the likelihood of having saved smaller pensions pots and greater uncertainty as to how they access retirement advice, it is important that greater focus and attention is given to women throughout all stages of their career.”

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