An independent survey carried out by Research Plus Ltd on behalf of Standard Life in October 2013 found that almost seven out of ten or 70% of women surveyed do not own a personal, company or work pension. Just 30 per cent of female respondents said they owned a pension compared with over half or 51% of men.

The trend for female pension ownership is down year on year, according to Standard Life. 42% of women said they had a pension in October 2012, compared with 30% in October 2013. The survey also revealed that the average female nest egg is €37,400 which estimates show would provide a retirement income of about €1,800 per annum. The average male pension pot is more than twice this amount at €86,300 which is estimated would provide retirement income of €4,100 per annum. 

27% of women will rely on their husbands/partners to finance their retirement and only 23% have a pension separate to their spouse/partner. Only 7% of women make additional voluntary contributions (AVCs or pension top-ups) to their employers’ pension scheme compared with 15% of men.

Aileen Power, head of corporate communications at Standard Life said “I do worry about women when I see these results. Women want independence and their own money in retirement but you can’t have independence without saving for it”.

Almost half or 47% of women without a pension said they can’t afford to save in the current environment. While there are women who simply cannot afford to save in the present environment, there are probably quite a lot more who simply haven’t gotten around to it, or who don’t understand how much money they would have made from saving €200 per month into an average pension plan over the last 30 years.

When you consider that women will live longer than men by five years on average, the question is can women afford not to save? Having figured out the tax efficiency and benefits of pensions and AVCs, women are likely to get cracking and do it for themselves.