Investments 

Half of women have no risk appetite at all

Half of women have no risk appetite at all

More than half of all women over the age of 50 are unwilling to take any investment risk at all with their retirement savings, a survey by Saga has found.

Questioning more than 10,000 people over the age of 50, the survey revealed 52 per cent women were entirely risk averse.

That compared to just 36 per cent of men in that age group.

But despite this cautiousness, women were much more likely to make "unilateral" decisions about their finances.

Almost half (47 per cent) said they would do so without consulting a financial adviser, family or friends first. Just 33 per cent of men fell into the "unilateralist" category.

That, said Saga, was because women were more distrustful of the financial services industry than men - although people across both sexes increasingly "frown at the thought of entrusting their money to financial organisations".

The report found that life changes, such as becoming widowed or divorced, was forcing many women to think about finances for the first time in their lives. 

One in seven women who had been widowed or divorced said their spouse had made all the financial decisions before he died. 

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of all those who had been widowed or divorced said they were worried about making financial decisions for the first time.

The number of women who felt this way (30 per cent) was significantly higher than men (19 per cent).

Nearly a quarter of respondents confessed to being "intimidated" by financial organisations, with 28 per cent believing these firms deliberately made things more complicated for their age group.

One in ten women, meanwhile, felt that financial services companies were set up more to help men than women.

Sally Merritt, product manager at Saga Invest Services, said: "With rising inflation rates slowly eating away their nest eggs, the over 50s still holding cash are losing money in real terms on their savings.

"That people are put off dealing with financial services companies as they find them intimidating shows that companies need to work harder to engage with people in a language they understand, and earn people’s trust through building meaningful long-term relationships with them, in order to help them make the most of their retirement savings."

The report comes a day after Aegon released research revealing men had three times as much saved in a pension as women.

On average, men had saved £73,600 into a pension while women had around £24,900 in their pension pots.

However, the report found women were closing the gap, with average pension savings up from £16,700 in 2015 and £20,400 last year.

james.fernyhough@ft.com

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