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Women less prepared for retirement and to use equity release

2 October 2019

The majority of women feel unprepared for retirement compared to their male counterparts, new research by Canada Life has found.

The figures showed that 56% of women feel unprepared, with almost the same proportion of women feeling ‘somewhat unprepared’ (37%) as ‘somewhat prepared’ (36%). In contrast, over half (53%) of men feel prepared for their retirement, with a further 12% describing themselves as ‘completely prepared’ compared to just 7% of women.

While smaller pension pots and the gender pay gap have long been cited as the reasons for women’s smaller retirement income, Canada Life said the research also found women’s reluctance to release equity from their property played a role.

Just over a third (36%) of women said they would be likely to use the wealth from their property in the future, compared to 46% of men, despite the majority of women recognising their pension is worth a lot less than their home.

The findings follow earlier research from Canada Life which revealed that women expect to need £1,421 a month after tax to live comfortably in their retirement. On average, however, single female pensioners received £206 per week in 2017-18, meaning they would fall short by as much as £500 a month.

Alice Watson, head of marketing and communications at Canada Life Home Finance, said the findings were not “particularly surprising.”

She said: “We know that women typically have less in their pension pots, due to a variety of socio-economic reasons. And our research earlier this year revealed a big gap between what women believe they need in retirement and what they will likely receive.

“Lifetime mortgages can offer women the flexibility and security they need to give them peace of mind in retirement. The industry needs to be confident that everything is being done to raise awareness of the benefits of unlocking the wealth stored in their homes, particularly among women.”

Watson added: “We know how important it is for advisers to be able to make their clients aware of all the options available to them to boost their retirement income, which is why we have recently launched another round of ‘Setting the Standards’ workshops, to help qualified advisers give the best possible advice.”

Professional Paraplanner