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Young women face £185,000 retirement income gap

‘We must tackle the larger structural issues in our society’

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Product provider Scottish Widows has found that young women will need to save an average of £185,000 ($248,789, €218,844) more during their working life to enjoy the same retirement income as men.

Its latest Women and Retirement Report surveyed over 5,000 Brits and found women currently in their 20s will have only saved around £250,000 by the time they retire.

Men on the other hand will have closer to £350,000 on average.

In addition, a 25-year-old man today will live to 86 based on current estimates, while a woman can expect to reach the age of 89.

With women living three years longer than men, the average woman will need £400,000 in her pension pot to achieve the same level of retirement income as a man with £350,000.

Discrepancy

Rather than being a worst-case scenario, there is a large range within life expectancies that mean women may need even more savings.

Some one-in-four women who are 60 today will live to be 94 and one-in-10 will live to 98. That is seven-to-11 additional years beyond the average life expectancy.

With longer lives comes a greater need for care in older age. Estimates suggest women spend on average 460 days in care homes, while men spend just 100. With the average cost of care £679 per week, this means women can expect to spend £35,000 more than men.

Women will need £100,000 to bridge the savings gap, another £35,000 to cover longer life expectancy and £35,000 to pay for associated care needs.

Overall, this means women need to save an extra £185,000 to achieve the same retirement lifestyle as a man. This would require saving an extra £2,500 per year, or £210 every month, from their mid-20s until the day they retire.

‘Double whammy’

Jackie Leiper, managing director of workplace savings at Scottish Widows, said: “It’s well known that the gender pay gap has a damaging impact on women’s retirement prospects.

“But women face a double whammy: even if we close the pension saving gender gap, pension equality would still not be achieved, because women need to fund a longer retirement and spend more on associated care costs.

“There are ways to help level the playing field – from enhancing maternity pensions to offering better parental leave and financial support for childcare – so that women are no longer financially penalised for raising a family. Of course, we must also tackle the larger structural issues in our society, like the gender pay gap.”

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