Covid-19 increases gender differences in savings attitudes

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  • A greater proportion of women (15%) Vs men (10%) likely to decrease their pension contributions in the next 6 months
  • Between March and July, after big falls in stock markets, almost half (47%) of men compared to less than a third (31%) of women said they consider this the right time to invest more money to benefit from a future recovery
  • More than half of men (54%) checked the performance of their investments in the last 4 weeks compared to less than a third (28%) of women

Research* carried out by Aegon among just under 7,000 respondents between March and July shows that coronavirus has widened the gap between men and women when it comes to their attitudes to saving and investing. This could lead to the gender pensions gap, which we should be aiming to reduce, getting bigger in future.

When it comes to looking ahead to retirement, women are more likely to be planning to decrease their pension contributions in the next 6 months compared to men. In July, 15% of women said they would decrease their contributions compared to only 10% of men.

Research shows that over the past 5 months during the pandemic men have been more engaged and optimistic about investing compared to women. Between March and July, just under half (47%) of men said they considered it the right time to increase the amount they invest compared to 31% of women. This could mean women lose out on any recovery in stock markets, widening the gap between their future retirement pots and those of males.

In July, more than half of all men (54%) said that they had checked the performance of their investments in the last 4 weeks compared to less than a third (28%) of women who did so. Over double the number of men (48%) said they paid attention to the stock markets in July compared to women (22%).

Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly impacted people’s attitudes towards saving and investing as many individuals have found their employment and financial situations affected. Our research shows that lockdown has exacerbated the gap in attitudes between men and women when it comes to the amount they may save in future and their likelihood of investing more in the stock market to benefit from any recovery.

“Two of the key drivers for women to close the gender pensions gap is to put more into pensions and to take a little more risk with investments, particularly at younger ages, in the hope of boosting returns and benefiting from any recovery in the stock market. Unfortunately, our research suggests that women are more likely to cut back on pension saving over the next six months and less keen than men to invest in the stock market. If this is the case, the gender pensions gap is likely to increase just as there were encouraging signs it might be decreasing.”

“While there will be tough times ahead for many, as we do see some semblance of normality returning, taking time to reassess finances and setting aside more money for the future can help to build greater financial security and well being in both the short and long-term.”

 

References

*Research carried out through the Aegon consumer panel between March – July 2020 with 6,900 respondents.

 

Notes to Editors

  • In the UK, Aegon offers retirement, workplace savings and protection solutions to over three million customers. Aegon employs around 2000 people in the UK and together with a further 800 people employed by Atos, we serve the needs of our customers. More information: aegon.co.uk
  • As an international life insurance, pensions and asset management group based in The Hague, Aegon has businesses in over twenty markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Aegon companies employ approximately 26,000 people and have millions of customers across the globe. Further information: aegon.com

Figures correct as of November 2019