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More than a quarter of women have no pension

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Fewer women than men have a formal pension, and those who do are saving substantially less than their male counterparts.

Research on 4,000 UK adults conducted last month for Handelsbanken Wealth and Asset Management found that 26% for women had no formal pension, a full ten percentage points above men (16%).

Taken as whole, the average pension amount was £103,037, but split by gender, men averaged £142,234 and  women only £51,384. 

Only 23% of the women said they were confident of a comfortable retirement while 35% said they would not be able to afford one.

Generational differences

The survey uncovered generational differences. While women over age 40 were generally less likely than a man of that age to have a pension, men and women in their 30s were equally likely to have a pension (77%). Women under 30 were more likely to have a pension pot than men of the same age (76% vs 59%).

When it comes to managing their pension pots, 45% of those questioned said they leave it to their workplace pension provider. More men than women said they manage their own pensions. Of men and women who self-manage, 56% said they seldom check on their retirement savings.

Gender disparity

Christine Ross, head of private office (North) and client director at Handelsbanken Wealth & Asset Management, commented: “Women on average continue to remain a long way behind men in pension savings, with the problem at its most acute among older generations who are closer to retirement.

“After decades of gender disparity, it’s encouraging to finally see clear evidence of change, with pension take up reaching parity among thirtysomethings, and women in their twenties ahead of their male counterparts.”

She said recent moves within the Government have the potential to further shrink the gender gap, such as the free childcare expansion in the Spring Budget.  

But she also called for steps to improve women’s confidence about financial products, adding that: “Generally, it is important to review your pension regularly and to top up your workplace pensions where possible. If you’re unable to pay into a formal pension, there are plenty of other options to consider, including ISAs, which offer tax-free savings.”