WHEN it comes to retirement planning, what’s your approach? Are you already saving diligently? Planning to get started, some time soon? Or winging it and keeping everything crossed that it’ll all be OK in the end?

When it comes to generating income for retirement, there appears to be a huge difference in behaviour between men and women. Men are almost twice as likely as women to invest for their retirement (20% vs. 12%)1.

Men are more likely to save, while women will make do - or ‘scrape by’ - opting to work longer or reduce their spending, rather than actively save for retirement. Worryingly, more than half the women surveyed for the latest Fidelity report1 admit they are leaving their future financial security to chance.

According to the women surveyed, 26% of the women (compared to 20% of men) say they’ll resort to simply reducing their expenses when they retire. While another 26% of women (compared to 22% of men) say they’ll just work for longer.

It’s admittedly hard to prioritise future savings, especially when day-to-day living costs are so high, but the fact that so many women seem particularly prone to leave their future financial security to chance, means it’s little surprise then that women are more likely to say that they don’t think they’ll have enough money in retirement to fund the lifestyle they would like (27%). This is compared to just 17% of men.

Living for today is one thing but you also have to keep an eye on the future. Are you saving enough for yours? Will you be able to afford the cost of care or support loved ones financially, if that’s what you want to do?

What this demonstrates is that women need to prioritise their future financial security, now.

Here’s how:

1. Start as soon as possible

Don’t put it off, start saving for your future today. It’s never too soon.

If retirement’s still some way off, make time to look at your retirement goals and map these against your income and current job security, so you have a better idea of where you are today and where you need to get to. You can then use that to draw up a financial plan to do what you need to, to boost your retirement savings in 2023.

2. Start small

Save without sacrifice by saving small amounts. Given time these will soon grow into something more substantial and can form the basis of your future financial security. 

3. Automate your savings habits

Make saving for your future less of a chore by automating it. Set up a standing order and pay your future self in the same way you pay today’s bills. In times of uncertainty like we’re in, it can be easy to get thrown off track. When the cost of everyday items is racing ahead you might be tempted to cut back on your longer-term savings and investments “for now”. But that “for now” can end up being for far longer than you might have hoped or need. So, if you can, keep your retirement and other savings and investment plans on course.

4. Don’t de-prioritise your needs

There is also a real danger that many women will have taken their eye off their own future savings and pension plans, first during the course of the pandemic and now with the cost-of-living crisis. However, while it can be tempting to hit the pause button and wait for the current situation to pass; this could cost you in the long run.

By keeping your regular savings and investment plans going, you make sure you keep your future plans on track. Losing out on six months, or a year or two, could have a detrimental impact on your longer-term financial security. And as we have seen time and again, we need every penny we can save to ensure our future financial wealth is in good shape.

5. Make a commitment to your future self

Whenever you can afford it, increasing your contributions could be the best way to build up your pension pot. It doesn’t have to be by much either. Our research shows that just by contributing an extra 1% of your salary into your pension every month, so about £35 a month on the average salary, you can close the gender pension gap by the time you come to retire. Have a look at our retirement savings guidelines to see if you are on the right road to retirement.

It’s worth remembering too that partners who are in full-time work, or have extra savings to spare, are permitted to make contributions up to a certain amount to your pension on your behalf, so you don’t suffer any gaps in retirement saving if you do take a career break.

1 Fidelity International, 12 April 2023. Research was conducted by Opinium Research commissioned by Fidelity International. The survey is based on a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults. Fieldwork ran from 15 to 20 December 2022.


Important information - This is for information purposes only and the views contained are not to be taken as advice or a recommendation for any product, service or course of action. You cannot normally access your pension savings until age 55. This is due rise to 57 in 2028. If you need additional help, please speak to an authorised financial adviser.

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