Financial planning gender gap: men more likely to plan and invest for retirement

15 Feb 2021
Mature professional woman working from home

Are you financially prepared for retirement? Worryingly, it seems the answer is more likely to be 'yes' if you're a man.

According to a survey conducted by YouGov for law firm Irwin Mitchell, the traditional gender divide for financial planning is still prominent.

The research showed that men over 40 are more likely to plan for retirement and know how much income they need for later life than women of the same age.

While nearly a quarter (23%) of men over 40 said they didn't have any plans for retirement yet, this figure rose to a third (32%) among the women surveyed.

When asked about the income they would need for a secure retirement, a third (32%) of men said they knew what funds were needed and the investments required to achieve it - compared with just over a fifth (22%) of women.

The survey also found a greater lack of awareness among women of the potential impact of later-life care costs on retirement finances.

The findings show that women are less likely to be prepared for later life, commented Emma McCann, a partner at Irwin Mitchell.

"The fact that women over 40 are less likely to know what income they need to retire on, are more likely not to know or understand about later-life care and the costs, and also more likely not to have any plans for retirement only suggests women will suffer more in later life if the Government does not do something to address this area," McCann said.

Further differences were found between men and women over 40 when it comes to their saving habits over the past year.

While the coronavirus pandemic has left many people with a shortfall in their income, others have seen their savings increase as lockdowns have curtailed their usual spending.

When asked what they were doing with any extra savings, men were more likely to be investing the money (22% versus 12% of women). They were also slightly more likely to be contributing more to their pensions (10% compared with 6% of women).

Meanwhile, women were slightly more likely (21% versus 16% of men) to say that if they hadn't saved it was because they needed to support loved ones financially.

Jason Mountford, financial planner at Irwin Mitchell, said it was concerning to see so few women choosing to put more funds into their pensions, which would "directly benefit their later life planning and essentially automate it for them".

"Pension planning for women is especially important as they tend to live longer than men, so it's well worth speaking to an advisor to see if your pension is looking up to scratch for later life," he added.