Female pension saving at four-year high

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The number of women saving enough for retirement over the past 12 months has hit a four-year high. Half of the female population is now preparing adequately, according to research from Scottish Widows, compared to just 40% in 2013.

The year-on-year increase was the first reported since 2011 and the company puts the rise down to “the significant changes in pensions regulations such as the introduction of automatic enrolment”.

The research found that 62% of working women of all ages approved of automatic enrolment. It also revealed that women who are auto-enrolled are saving an average of £42.51 a month into a workplace pension, compared to £49.27 for men.

Scottish Widows said that the gender gap when it comes to adequate retirement saving is closing, with a nine percentage point gap between women and men in 2013 reduced to five in 2014.

In the 50 to 64 age group, women are now keeping up with men, with 60% and 62% respectively saving enough for a comfortable retirement.

In the same age group, women have saved 10.5% of their earnings, on average, compared to 11.2% for men. Both figures are approaching 12% – the minimum level recommended by Scottish Widows as to secure an adequate pension.

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New opportunities

Lynn Graves, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, said: “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.”

It has also been revealed that more women are kept awake at night due to worries over money than men. Debt charity StepChange found that meeting the costs of essential household bills was a concern for half of women, compared to 47% of men. Other problems keeping women up include a lack of savings(57%) and debt (24%).

Some 47% of women who struggled to sleep said it impacted on their ability to concentrate, 32% found it more difficult to get work done and 19% said it affected their relationship with their partner or spouse.

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