Research reveals the majority of women can't afford to save for retirement

Research has revealed that the number of women saving enough for their retirement has reached a seven year high. The Scottish Widows Women and Pensions Report 2011 has found that 50% of women are now saving adequately for their retirement, up from 43% in 2010. It’s not all good news though as the research also shows that more women are saving nothing at all towards their retirement, 23% compared with 17% of men. Furthermore, 71% of women say they can't afford to save long term compared to 60% of men.

The report found that when women do save, they tend to save a higher percentage of their income than men. However, the gender pay gap means that women’s earnings are lower which in turn means that the average monetary amount saved by a woman is significantly less than that of a man.

There are now more than a million women unemployed in the UK, the highest level since 1992. At the same time, there are fewer jobs, notably in the public sector, which is currently translating national spending cuts into local budget reductions.  Public sector employers are more likely than the private sector to offer flexible working opportunities which enable women to combine work with caring responsibilities. Consequently, more women may be forced into looking for part-time work which is typically low-paid and low-skill.

Further attacks on women’s incomes come in the form of rising childcare costs, a cut in childcare subsidies, and fewer childcare places. In Scotland, the average annual cost for 25 hours of nursery care per week for a child under two is £5,178. The cost of a childminder for a child aged two and over in Scotland increased by 8.3 per cent almost four times as much as the average wage.

Given the impact that such changes have on women's incomes, it’s little wonder then that the majority of women can't afford to save long term.

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