The number of women adequately prepared for retirement is at an all-time low and well below that of their male counterparts, Scottish Widows has warned.
According to the 2013 Women and Pensions report just 40% of women are preparing adequately for later life, down from 42% last year and a dramatic drop from 50% in 2011, the lowest figure since their records began in 2006.
This compares to the 49% of men who are adequately prepared ("adequate" refers to saving at least 12% of income or being enrolled in a defined benefit scheme).
The annual survey of over 5,000 people found that a worrying 37% of women weren't saving at all for retirement, and those that do are only managing to put aside £187 per month – much less than the average £260 that men are managing to save.
As a result, there's a gender pension savings gap of some £1,000 per year.
There seems to be various generational barriers to saving that lead to such a stark difference in savings habits. Women in their twenties tend to prioritise short-term financial matters whilst only 50% of women in their 30s work full-time, compared to 81% of men, whilst a worrying 24% of women in their 40s expect their partner's income to help fund their retirement.
This has led experts to urge women to take full responsibility for their retirement savings, ensuring they make informed decisions and can achieve financial independence in later life.
Lynn Graves, head of business development, corporate pensions at Scottish Widows, commented:
"It is worrying to see that women are continuing to lag behind men in retirement savings. The number of women preparing adequately for retirement has dropped from last year to a record low.
"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.
"The pensions industry, Government and employers need to work together to raise awareness of the unique lifestyle pressures that take their toll on women's savings at different ages and help women prioritise their pensions."
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