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Women’s retirement saving at all-time low, says Scottish Widows report

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The number of women preparing adequately for retirement is at an all-time low, according to the latest Scottish Widows Women and Pensions report.

The report found 40% of women are preparing adequately for retirement (saving at least 12% of their income), compared with 49% of men. This is down from 50% of women preparing adequately in 2011, and 42% in 2012.

On average, women said they were saving £182 a month, whereas men save £260 a month. Over a year, the difference is £936.

The report found 37% of women surveyed have no pension, compared with 27% of men.

Barriers to women saving highlighted in the report include the need to prioritise living expenses, socialising in their twenties and family commitments as they get older. Taking career breaks can also dent women’s saving plans.

A worrying gap

Lynn Graves, head of business development at Scottish Widows, called the gender gap in pensions savings “worrying”.

“This growing gender gap in retirement savings means that women are facing an ever-increasing shortfall when it comes to retiring and must act now to ensure they will not be left exposed in later life,” she said.

Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown, urged the Government to raise the pensions allowance to keep pace with inflation.

“This is an important allowance widely used by non-earning spouses, those taking career breaks and those having children,” he said.

He added: “Employers should be encouraged to talk to their employees about the benefits of auto-enrolment to encourage lower earners to opt in to their workplace scheme and take advantage of their employer’s contributions.”

The Scottish Widows Women and Pensions report, which is in its ninth year, collated the responses of 5,000 men and women.