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Gender savings gap emerges as Brits hit their 30s

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Women are in danger of losing out in retirement as the amount they save compared to men drops when they hit their 30s.

While women set aside more than men in their 20s, this trend reverses when they reach their 30s, according to a Scottish Widows report.

The findings show that men put an average of £93.26 into their workplace pension scheme in their 20s, while women save around £180.36 at this age. When they reach their 30s, the amount women save drops to £119.59 while the figure for men rises to £202.58.

Gulnur Muradoglu, professor of finance and director of the behavioural finance working group at Queen Mary University of London, said: “The fact that women save more than men in their twenties and then drop off in their thirties is actually reflective of their behaviour and attitudes towards their finances in general. By nature, women are more conservative and risk-averse than men, so as they are aware that they are going to be less likely to save in their thirties due to the impact of career breaks, women ensure that they are plugging this gap by ramping up saving in their twenties.”

Starting a family has a more noticeable impact on women’s ability to save due to lower income, as 27% of women with 1-3 dependent children work part-time, versus 6% of men.

Given the current average age for women in the UK to begin having children is around 30, the report said there is a clear link between the dip in financial optimism and saving levels at this age with new financial challenges juggling work and family.

Worryingly, almost three quarters (71%) of women do not know how much they would need to save for what they would consider to be a comfortable retirement, compared to only half (52%) of men.

“The need for pension providers, the government and employers to offer more targeted engagement, education and support for women is becoming more prevalent as they navigate their way through the complex savings environment, often juggling the demands of family and work. This should include thinking about specific timings of the information to ensure that women are more engaged and in tune with how what they put away now translates into greater financial security in future,” said Jackie Leiper, retirement expert at Scottish Widows.