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Number of women saving adequately for retirement at four-year high

Helen Morrissey
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Helen Morrissey

The number of women saving adequately for retirement has reached a four year high, according to Scottish Widows Women and Retirement report.

According to the report, 50 per cent of the UK female population is now preparing adequately. This is an increase of ten percentage points on last year.

The introduction of auto-enrolment is seen as a key factor in this increase. On average women who are auto-enrolled are now saving £42.51 per month compared to £49.27 for men.

In the 50-64 age group the average savings for women average 10.5 per cent of earnings compared to 11.2 per cent of men. This is approaching the 12 per cent savings ratio Scottish Widows recommends as the minimum necessary for a comfortable retirement.

Speaking at the report launch, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Rachel Reeves said more needed to be done to increase the number of women saving for retirement.

“When the coalition government came to power it watered down auto-enrolment in that it raised the minimum earning threshold,” she said. “If this had not happened we could have seen 1.5 million more people auto-enrolled, two-thirds of which are women.”

She then added that this is something she would look to address should Labour win the next election.

However, the research also showed a persistent gender pensions gap with women saving approximately 30 per cent less than men for retirement. This can create an overall gender gap of £142,000 in terms of total amount saved for retirement over a working lifetime from age 22 to 68.

“The gender gap grows between men and women and this is largely due to career breaks,” said Scottish Widows director of employer relationships Jackie Leiper. “A six-year career break could impact a pension pot by up to 17 per cent and we need to look at what we can do to help women.”