Auto-enrolment closes pensions gender gap

The gap between the number of men and women saving the minimum amount for a comfortable retirement has closed in the last 12 months, a survey by Scottish Widows has revealed.

Scottish Widows calculates the minimum amount of yearly savings needed for a comfortable retirement is 12% of income.

Half of women are saving at least 12% of their income for retirement, compared to 55% of men. The proportion of people saving adequately has significantly increased in the last year, with just 40% of women and 49% of men putting at least 12% of their income away in 2013.

The survey found:

  • the percentage point gap between men and women has closed from 9 points in 2013 to 5 points in 2014
  • 60% of women aged 50-64 are saving compared to 62% of men
  • average savings for women aged 50-64 are 10.5% of earning, compared to 11.2% of earnings for men
  • 53% of all people are currently saving enough for a comfortable retirement.

Lynn Graves, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, said that auto-enrolment is "clearly helping more women to put away more for retirement".

The survey found that 62% of all women approved of auto-enrolment. However, a gender gap remains in workplace pension provision, with auto-enrolled women saving an average £42.51 per month compared to £49.27 for men.

Graves continued:

"Women have historically lagged behind men in retirement savings but the recent pensions changes are giving women new opportunities to build a more comfortable retirement. While it is still early days, the recent reforms are clearly helping more women to put away more for retirement, and to recognise the importance of starting this as early as possible."

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