8th March 2023’s is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. When it comes to pensions, equity remains a distant dream for many women across the globe. We take a look at the reasons behind the gender pension gap and the actions women can take to be better prepared.
Women and retirement: a story of inequity
Fact: women don’t enjoy the same income in retirement as men. Statistics show that the gender pension gap is alive and well across the globe:
In the US, women have an average of $57,000 in retirement savings, compared to $118,000 for men.
While in the UK, women on average retire with half the income of men. A Scottish Widows survey conducted in 2021 found that ‘The average woman in her 20s today would have to work 37 years longer than a man of the same age to reach retirement parity’
And in Australia, the average superannuation payout for women is a third of the payout for men – $37,000 compared with $110, 000.
Why women have lower income in retirement
It is an uphill struggle for women to save for retirement for a number of reasons.
- Women earn less so women save less. And progress in reducing the gender pay gap is depressingly slow. According to the World Economic Forum, ‘at the current rate of progress, it will take 132 years to reach full parity.’.
- Women are more likely to have casual or part-time work
- Women are more likely to take career breaks to raise children or look after parents
- Women are more likely to prioritise children and mortgages over retirement saving
- Women are more risk-averse when it comes to investing, tending to opt for perceived ‘safe’ investments which may not even keep pace with inflation
And the kicker: not only do women save less for retirement but average life expectancy is longer for women, so their pension pots need to stretch further.
As a result of these issues, many women are living their final years in poverty.
If you don’t want to become one of them, now is the time to act.
How can women be better prepared for retirement?
If you don’t want to become just another retirement poverty statistic, you need to take action. Prioritise you, because no-one else will!
The biggest positive step you can take is to start saving regularly into a private pension as early in your career as possible. Compounding over many years is the key factor that will boost your pension pot. It makes sense to maximise pension contributions at the start of your career so your savings can be working hard for you even if you decide to take a career break to have a family.
Seek professional advice to put together a financial plan that works for you. The younger you are, the more risk you can afford to take, with the potential for a higher return. Think equity funds, not bank savings accounts. A financial adviser can accurately assess your risk tolerance and suggest an investment strategy aligned with it.
Whatever your age and income, if you are a woman in Asia looking to secure a comfortable retirement, talk to us! Our team of professionals would be glad to help you take control of your finances and explain the options available to you.
Click here to start your journey to financial security in retirement.
A leading provider of expat financial services and wealth management services across Asia.