Industry research prompts concern over 'mismatched' retirement planning

Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of women are confident they will be able to afford to retire, compared to almost half (46 per cent) of men, prompting concerns that couples could have mismatched retirement plans.

The survey, by Hargreaves Lansdown, also found that men typically wanted to retire earlier than women, with 45 per cent of men expecting to retire at age 65 or earlier, compared to 36 per cent of women.

Women, however, preferred the idea of a phased retirement, with 25 per cent stating that they would like to work part-time between age 50 and retiring, compared to 16 per cent of men.

Recent industry research also found that the pandemic has fuelled a rise in "all-or-nothing retirement plans", as more people hope to leave employment early.

Hargreaves Lansdown's latest findings have also suggested further disparity in terms of what individuals expectations for retirement look like, however, with men “far more likely” to have ruled out downsizing, with 49 per cent ruling this out, compared to 39 per cent of women.

Furthermore, whilst men wanted to study, play sport, and watch TV, women, in comparison, were keen to travel and read more in retirement, and were a third more likely to say they want to spend time looking after grandchildren in retirement.

In light of the findings, the provider warned that flexibility given when the default retirement age was abolished has resulted in a mismatch in men and women’s plans, partly because women typically have "far smaller" pension pots and need to work longer to build their retirement savings.

Indeed, industry research has suggested that women saving adequately on the median wage would have to work an extra 37 years to match men's savings, with women up to 45 per cent worse off at retirement due 'intrinsic biases' in the pensions system.

However, Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst, Nathan Long, emphasised that whilst the gender pensions gap is well known, there is also a "wide disparity" in how men and women plan their retirements, emphasising the importance of awareness of this amongst couples.

He stated: "A third of your life could be in retirement, and for many couples, half their relationship could be spent as retirees. So it’s essential that couples discuss their plans properly. Otherwise, they could be in for a shock when they stop working.

"Some couples may find that their retirement plans are not compatible, and their aspirations for later life are worlds apart.

"It’s not just about the amount of money saved in pension pots, having different goals can be problematic too. If one of you is saving for travel and the other for a retirement on the sofa, then one of you is likely to be aiming for a far more expensive retirement than the other.”

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