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Self-employed women left further behind in pension savings

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Nearly a third of self-employed people aren’t saving for retirement but women in this group leave themselves even more vulnerable.

One in three self-employed women (32%) aren’t saving anything for retirement, compared to 24% of men.

It is a similar picture to employed workers – women are again at the tail end with a quarter (24%) admitting they’re not saving for their golden years compared with 14% of men in this group.

The survey of 3,000 from Fidelity revealed that in terms of age groups, self-employed people aged 35-54 were the least inclined to save for retirement with 30% saying they weren’t saving anything against a quarter of 18-34-year olds (25%).

Of those aged 55+, 22% of the self-employed said they’re not saving for retirement against the 20% who are employed.

Maike Currie, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity, said the self-employed and the savings gap has dominated headlines for the past few months.

“However, even within this group, there are still those who fall even further short; namely women and those who are in their later thirties and forties,” she said.

Currie added: “These are often groups that find it difficult to save due to working patterns or due to increased out-goings as they are squeezed from all angles. However, for those in self-employment, it can be made worse as they don’t even fall under the remit of auto-enrolment. While it is compulsory for all eligible workers to be enrolled into a pension scheme, this duty has yet to be rolled out among the self-employed leaving massive potential shortfalls later on in life.

“Working for yourself means you need to do everything for yourself including planning for a dignified old age. Do consider saving into a SIPP (self-invested personal pension) which can step in in the absence of an employer-sponsored pension scheme. Or investing into an ISA where, like a SIPP, your savings can grow tax free.

“Looking after the broader family as well as working for yourself or juggling several part-time jobs means you are unlikely to have massive amounts of pension saving. As people live longer, it is important to save as early as possible. Even small amounts can become significant sums due to the wonders of compounding and with retirement potentially lasting into your nineties, you need as much money as you can get.”