Scotland business

Scots gender retirement savings gap 'at record high'

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Image caption Nearly a quarter of women said they were prioritising debt repayments over saving for retirement

The gap between the amount men and women in Scotland are saving for retirement has grown to a record high, according to an annual survey.

The Scottish Widows Women and Pensions Report indicated women were saving an average of £720 a year less than men for their retirement.

The difference reported last year was £617.

The new gap means a 30-year-old woman could be £27,600 worse off than her male counterpart, if she retired at 65.

The report claimed women were being hit disproportionately by the economic downturn.

It said they often found it harder to save for the long term because of differences in lifestyle, as they were more likely to work part-time or have a full-time caring role.

The online survey of more than 425 adults found nearly half (47%) of Scottish women reported feeling worse off than a year ago, compared to 41% of men.

The report also suggested 24% of women were prioritising debt repayments over saving for their retirement, despite the average amount owed - excluding mortgages - dropping significantly from £9,628 last year to £7,092 this year.

'Positive shift'

The survey found that the number of women saving nothing at all for retirement had also increased since last year.

However, Scottish Widows said it also showed a positive shift in attitudes among women who were already saving into pensions, suggesting many of them were reluctant to cut their contributions.

If faced with a 10% fall in income, most respondents said they would cut spending on food, clothing and going out first, and just 5% would cut back on pension contributions.

Lynn Graves, from Scottish Widows, said: "Important differences in lifestyle, such as being more likely to work part-time or have a full-time caring role, mean women often find it more difficult to save for the long term and retirement.

"It has therefore never been more important for the pensions industry, government and employers to raise awareness of this gender gap in retirement savings and help women prioritise their pensions."

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