Women still reluctant to ask about pensions

Women still reluctant to ask about pensions
Photo: Cottonbro via Pexels

Women aged 55 and above are still reluctant to ask their advisers questions about their pension pots, a study has claimed.

Research carried out among 2,000 British retirees on behalf of Abrdn found the gender pension gap was being exacerbated by a 'pension knowledge gap'.

It found that older women were not just under-advised, with only 19 per cent saying they have sought professional financial advice about their retirement plans, but also seemed to hesitate when it comes to asking questions.

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According to the research, only 9 per cent of advised women said they were likely to contact their adviser proactively if they had any questions or concerns about their pensions.

This was in stark contrast to men, 25 per cent of whom said they had sought professional advice, and 15 per cent of whom said they proactively contact their adviser about their pension plans.

Instead of advisers, the research found that women were more likely to turn to their partner, friends or family for advice compared to men, but are less likely to search for answers online.

The research also threw up some notable regional variations. 

Retirees living in the East Midlands were most likely to have sought advice on their retirement plans (28 per cent), followed by those in the North West (24 per cent) and the South East (23 per cent).

Retirees in Wales and in the North East were the least likely to have spoken to a professional finance adviser before retiring, at 16 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

Shona Lowe, financial planning expert at abdrn, commented: “It’s alarming to see gender disparity and regional variations when it comes to seeing who is seeking advice on their retirement. As an industry we have a duty to change this by making advice accessible and demonstrating its value.

“Although there is a wealth of material available online, and speaking to those around you is often helpful, we want to encourage more people to consider the benefits that personalised financial and retirement advice could bring to them.”

Despite almost half (48 per cent) of those surveyed admitting they were worried about potentially running out of money in retirement, almost one-third (31 per cent) said they had not spoken to someone because of the cost of advice.

Lowe added: “There’s a common misconception that financial advisers are reserved only for the wealthy – but this is simply not the case.

“Whether it be tax implications, managing ever-changing expenses, supporting loved ones or the very current concerns about the rising cost of living, speaking to an expert can set you up for a better retirement both financially and emotionally."