Women and retirement planning

Feb 12, 2020

According to the Pensions Policy Institute by their 60s, women typically have £51,100 in their pension pot; while men have an average of £156,500.

In all countries women outlive men; so why don’t their pension pots reflect this?


Read on to find out why




According to the World Economic Forum, “women earn less than men and in many countries they don’t have the same human rights as men. Despite the social inequality women experience, they live longer than men.”

Women in the UK live to an average 82.9 years, while for men in the UK the average age of death is 79.2 years. The gap between genders is bigger elsewhere in the world. In the USA for example, women outlive men by an average of five years (81.1 years for women compared to 76.1 for men).

Given that women in the UK live on average 3.7 more years than men for them to draw the same pension income throughout their retired lifetime, they need to have around 5-7% more saved than men by retirement age.

Yes: women earn less, take career breaks to have children or care for the ill or elderly, work part-time, juggle many commitments – and despite all of this they still live longer!


Why do men have so much more saved for retirement than women?


Scottish Widows believe it is down to:

  • The gender pay gap.
  • More women than men working part-time or taking career breaks.
  • Women are much more likely to be in lower paid jobs, with 31% earning between £10,000 and £20,000 per annum.
  • Women also lose out on around £5bn each year by not talking about pensions during divorce settlements.

The employment rate for women has grown substantially over the years with those working aged 55-59 increasing by nearly 20% in 20 years – from 52.5% in 1998 to 70.7% in 2018 (Department of Work and Pensions).




Women are having children later in life and returning to their careers in their late 40s and 50s and the number of women working past 65 has nearly tripled since 2000 in the UK.

Despite all of this there is still a significant gender gap, and Scottish Widows predicts that, on average, a young woman today will have £78,000 less in her retirement pot than the average man.

Women are also more likely to drop out of their pension scheme due to other financial commitments.

Worryingly, over a third of self-employed women are saving nothing at all into a pension. The same goes for nearly one-fifth of women working as employees, according to the Scottish Widows Women and Retirement 2019 Report.


What to do?


  • When saving for retirement it’s important to save as early as possible – that’s no secret.
  • Missing National Insurance contributions early can seriously harm your retirement income so make sure you have no gaps in your contributions. You can check contributions HERE.
  • Check to see if your company offers a company retirement scheme and see if you are eligible to join.
  • Women are typically more conservative with risk taking but as they live longer they can afford to take advantage of a more aggressive portfolio to help their pension pot grow.

Doing something is better than nothing and starting a savings regimen no matter how much is the first step to a comfortable retirement.

As you progress through your life you should aim to keep adding to this pot with extra contributions from bonuses, gifts, higher salary amounts etc as you will thank yourself down the line. 

Nobody, female or male, wants a life of poverty in old age just because they did not seek advice on how to invest for the future.

If you need help with figuring out what you should be doing for your retirement you can take advantage of my free 60-minute consultation by clicking  Contact Me Today for an initial informal chat.

I would be happy to review your current financial plan, offer some tips for creating one or answer any questions you might have pertaining to your investments.

About the author

Colin MacGregor is an independent financial advisor with over 10 years experience in the advisory sector and  has been based in Prague, Czech Republic since 2009.


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