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The retirement gap: how women can save more

You’ve no doubt heard about the gender pay gap; some companies even now report on the pay disparity between the men and women in their organisation, to be transparent about their attempts to promote equality. But what about the retirement gap?

Men are more likely to save

The data* showed that men are more likely to save than women, with 27% of men, as opposed to 23% of women finding spare change to put away regularly. It’s not surprising, then, that while 27% of men say that they’ve increased their contributions to retirement savings over the past six months, a smaller percentage of women (24%) said the same.

Although this data means the gap has closed a little since the last survey, this is likely to mean that women’s financial futures are less secure, and women could be at a greater risk of struggling with the cost of living in their later years rather than enjoying their well-earned retirement. It’s also about wellbeing and peace of mind right now: men surveyed were more likely than women to confidently describe the state of their finances and savings as ‘good’.

The increased cost of living isn’t helping, as many people are nervous about unexpected expenses in retirement. This is leading to more women reducing their expenses and working longer.

There is hope, though.

So what can women do to increase their confidence and help close the gap?

Well, first of all, let’s reframe that question, because the number one action is something that both women and men can do: actively work towards pay equality. If men and women are paid the same, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to save the same (although our survey also showed that women are more likely to contribute to household expenses than save money).

Secondly, know how much you have saved. Knowledge is always power when it comes to finances, and although there are multiple temptations to stick our heads in the ground (retirement is far away/retirement is too close now/it’s too soon/it’s too late/I can’t do anything anyway), you have to know where you’re starting to work out where you’re going. You can quickly check and manage your retirement savings by logging into PlanViewer (and if you want to make it easier to view your savings on the go, think about downloading our PlanViewer app).

Plan ahead. Now that you know that the retirement savings gap exists, you can pre-empt it by finding ways to build up your savings as early as possible. You can be aware of any potential future career breaks and gaps in your ability to save and think about how you can make extra contributions to minimise the effects later on. Paying in more sooner rather than later also means you could end up with a larger pot overall as the money has more time to grow, and for that growth to be invested too. Remember though, the value of your savings and any income from it can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.

Retrospectively close the gap. If you’re in a position where you have taken time out of your career, perhaps to look after children or elderly parents, you may already be able to see that the impact this has had on your retirement savings. Can you increase your level of contributions? Are you taking advantage of all the money your company will contribute? Are you able to make one-off contributions to make up any shortfall? You’ll be able to find some of this information from your employer, on PlanViewer or from an independent financial adviser. 

Look after future you

We understand that the increased cost of living is affecting lots of people. It can be hard to prioritise money for a hypothetical future when you really need it to make ends meet today. All we can say is that the future will arrive, and any small amount you can tuck away into your retirement savings today could make a big difference tomorrow. Take a look at our ‘Power of small amounts’ tool to find out how little amounts today can add up to something significant tomorrow. 

Power of small amounts

Planning is power

35% of women have no idea how much they are going to spend in retirement versus 22% of men*. Women can be part of closing that gap by prioritising their future selves and taking the time to make a plan.

To find out more about women, money and your retirement savings, visit our Women and Money page.

Women and Money

*The Fidelity Global Sentiment Survey, 2023.
The sample consisted of respondents with the following qualifying conditions: aged 20-75, either they or their partner were employed full-time or part-time and had a minimum household income of: Australia: A$45,000 annually; China: RMB 5,000 monthly; Hong Kong: HK$15,000 monthly; USA: US$20,000 annually; Canada: CA$30,000 annually; UK: £10,000 annually; Mexico: $4,500 MXN monthly; Ireland: €20,000 annually; Germany: €20,000 annually; Netherlands: €20,000 annually; France: €20,000 annually; Italy: €15,000 annually; Spain: €15,000 annually; Japan: 1.5m yen annually; Brazil: R$1,501 monthly; India: ₹55,001 annually, Singapore: SGD$2,000 monthly; Denmark: 100,00 DKK annually; South Korea: 1m KRW monthly; Switzerland: 20 CHF annually; KSA: 4,000 SAR monthly; Sweden: 180,000 SEK annually; UAE 29,000 AED monthly; The data collection, research and analysis for the above markets was completed in partnership with Opinium, a strategic insight agency. Data collection took place in July 2023. Reporting and analysis took place between July and October 2023.

Grow and manage your money

Use PlanViewer at any time to see how your contributions are adding up and how your investments are performing.

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