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Just how big is the retirement savings gender gap?

Women are less likely than men to have £80,000 or more in savings, according to research.

Women can often push retirement planning to the back-burner, as many take time out of work to raise families and take on other – often unpaid – caring responsibilities.

As a result, women often end up with smaller pension pots than men – and fewer opportunities to save.

New research from HSBC UK ( has found, pensions aside, nearly a third (32%) of retired men say they have £80,000 or more in savings. This compares with less than a fifth (18%) of women.

Nearly three in 10 (29%) of retired women surveyed say they are not having a financially comfortable retirement – compared to 22% of men who feel the same way.

Percentage of retirees with £80,000 or more in savings

  • Men, 32%

  • Women, 18%


Surging living costs – with Consumer Prices Index inflation hitting 9% in the year to April – mean retirees (along with many other households) will need to stretch their money even further.

Retired women are particularly likely to say they would struggle to find money to pay particular bills. More than two-thirds (68%) of retired women surveyed for HSBC believe their retirement savings would not cover a two-week holiday abroad, compared with 59% of male retirees. Three in 10 (30%) retired women say they would not be able to afford to run a car on their retirement savings, compared with 21% of retired men.

And one in 10 (10%) of retired women say they do not have enough in retirement savings to cover their household bills, compared with 5% of male retirees.

Even some of those on “gold-plated” final salary or defined benefit (DB) pension schemes may be finding the cap on the amount their income increases by is below inflation.

More than two-thirds of retired women believe their retirement savings would not cover a two-week holiday abroad (Yui Mok/PA)

XPS Pensions Group ( says while private sector DB pension benefits often increase in line with inflation, a lot of increases are capped at 5% – potentially leaving some retirees with a pension black hole to fill.

Some pensioners have also found themselves spending more money in the tough economy. One in five (19%) retirees decreased the amount they had set aside for their retirement due to the pandemic, and just over a fifth (22%) had to do so to support family members, according to HSBC UK.

HSBC UK’s head of wealth management strategy, Emma Chee, says: “Between inflation and the rising cost of living, we know many households are facing increased financial pressures.

“The pandemic also negatively impacted a lot of people’s retirement savings, which has been an additional challenge for many. During those times, we understand it can be harder to save for long-term goals, such as your retirement, but it remains key to plan for your future.

If you get Pension Credit, you could also get help towards your Council Tax, heating bills, housing costs and free NHS dental care Check your eligibility online at or call 0800 99 1234 — DWP (@DWP) May 10, 2022

“It is important to have a plan in place so you can enjoy the retirement you want, and there are plenty of steps people can take to make the most of their savings and maximise their return.”

One thing you can do is make sure you are claiming Pension Credit, if you are entitled to it. This provides a “top-up” for your income – and it can also act as a gateway to help access other valuable benefits. If you have £10,000 or less in savings and investments, this will not affect your Pension Credit.

People may also want to check their entitlements to other benefits, such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme and Winter Fuel Payments. Some may also benefit from independent financial advice, to help them get the most out of their savings.

Seeking financial advice might help you take control of your money (Alamy/PA)

Another way to raise a significant sum of cash may be to downsize to a smaller property, although the cost of moving would also need to be taken into account.

And some may consider equity release – although this again would need to be weighed up carefully, as it could mean having less wealth to pass on as an inheritance.

Those who haven’t yet retired could check out the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s retirement living standards – which can give an indication of what kind of standard of retirement they might have (see

Some people may also be eligible for credits to fill gaps in their National Insurance records, which could help them to build up a state pension. Find more information about NI credits at


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