The gap between the amount men and women are saving for retirement has grown to a record high, according to Scottish Widows, as women continue to be hit disproportionately by the economic downturn.
In its latest “Women and Pensions” report, the firm claims that half of Britain’s females are feeling worse off than a year ago and that the gender gap in retirement savings has increased by over 10%, with women currently saving an average of £776 per year less than men (up from £700 less in 2011).
The discrepancy means that a 30 year-old woman who maintains the average annual rate of saving will face a shortfall of £29,800 in today’s money, compared to her male counterpart, should she chooses to retire at 65.
Based on a sample of 5,200 adults, the study also shows that the proportion of women saving nothing at all for retirement stands at 26%, compared with 19% for men.
Scottish Widows head of business development, corporate pensions, Lynn Graves, comments: “Important differences in lifestyle such as being more likely to work part-time or have a full-time caring role, mean women often find it more difficult to save for the long term and retirement.”
She adds: “It has therefore never been more important for the pensions industry, Government and employers to raise awareness of this gender gap in retirement savings and help women prioritise their pensions.”
Other key findings from the research include:
31% of women questioned are prioritising debt repayments over saving for their retirement, with the average amount owed (excluding mortgages) jumping from £10,174 a year ago to £10,922 today.
Over the same period, average monthly savings have fallen steeply from £130 to £95 for women, whilst the average for men has risen from £174 to £185.
42% of women have prioritised living expenses above saving for old age in the last year.
The most popular reason for increasing long-term saving is to “save for a rainy day”, with 31% of women citing this.