Pensions  

Aegon warns of 'vast disparity' in pension gender gap

Aegon warns of 'vast disparity' in pension gender gap

A "vast disparity" exists between women and men in adequately preparing for retirement, the head of pensions at Aegon has warned.

Research carried out by the pension and investment company found one in three women were unsure of the amount saved in their pension, compared to one in five men.

As part of the Aegon Retirement Confidence Survey, which interviewed 946 respondents on their retirement prospects, 15 per cent of women had failed to pay into a pension plan of any kind, compared to 11 per cent of men.

Aegon identified £300,000 as the amount required to maintain the current lifestyle of an average earner in retirement, but found a significant gender imbalance in pension savings with 15 per cent of men saving over this amount in contrast to 4 per cent of women.

Individual outlooks on future savings also differed - just 6 per cent of women reported feeling comfortable they will have saved sufficient funds to retire comfortably, whilst 13 per cent of men felt optimistic about their future financial situations.

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said the figures were "staggering" and showed just how wide the gap between men and women is when it comes to preparing well for retirement.

She said: "We know that there a number of factors that impact a women’s ability to save for retirement including career breaks to raise a family or care for elderly parents, however our research shows that many women are burying their heads in the sand and failing to prepare for retirement."

Ms Smith warned the widening pensions saving gap between men and women should not be ignored and urged the women to engage with pension saving sooner rather than later.

She said: "Everyone should think ahead to retirement, regardless of their age or gender and when it comes to pension saving, it is good to regularly check in how much you hold in savings and where possible think about paying in more in order to have the lifestyle you want in retirement."

Emma Thomson, life office relationship director at LifeSearch, said Aegon's findings highlighted significant gaps in consumers’ financial understanding, particularly for women.

She commented: "Historically women have been far more reliant on their partner for their finances than younger women today, which might explain some of the statistics below.

"To reduce the gap between men and women when it comes to finances and financial awareness, women need to take an active role in their own financial future, to ensure their personal pension arrangements are the best they can be, regardless of whether they are in a relationship or not."  

Ms Thomson said women often also overlook the need for protection insurance - especially those who work part time, earn less than their partner or are the primary care giver - without fully understanding the financial impact on themselves and the household if they were to fall ill.