The gender retirement gap: how you can tackle it as a financial adviser

By Ryan Smith on October 25, 2018

There is undoubtedly a gender gap when it comes to retirement, as many studies have shown that men enjoy higher incomes in retirement than women.

One of the challenges facing you as an adviser offering help with money issues is how to work out what you can do to close this gap.

Research

A recent YouGov survey looked at consumer attitudes towards retirement. It polled more than 2,000 people over the age of 50, and the results showed that men are 24.91 per cent more likely to seek financial advice about retirement than women.

The survey also found that only 30 per cent of men are unaware of Pension Freedoms, while over 50 per cent of women lacked this important information.

Other research studies have also revealed that people who take financial advice go on to enjoy higher incomes in their retirement.

Pension Freedoms

Anyone outside of the industry may not realise that there has been a revolution in pensions in the UK.

These people may be unaware that relatively recent rule changes present opportunities such as retiring early, phasing retirement or changing income in other more personalised ways.

The fact that over half of women are unaware of these possibilities actually offers an opportunity to create new leads. As a financial adviser, you will always be looking at how to identify people who need help with finances.

Back to basics

Putting the focus on women means that you need to understand why 51 per cent of the population seems reluctant to take advice on an extremely important part of their financial planning. You need to consider:

  • What motivates women?
  • What are their concerns?
  • What do they want from retirement?
  • What is it that puts them off seeking advice?

Institutional problems

It is no big jump to surmise that a male-dominated profession such as financial advisement might have led to a disconnect between female consumers and male advisers.

The blame must lie in some part with financial institutions that have overlooked the needs of female consumers. Taking positive steps to address these concerns while helping achieve the best outcomes means that you need to take a personalised approach rather than offering a “one-size-fits-all” financial product.

Working together

Another recent report stated that the problem of a pension gender gap can only find resolution through companies and the government working together.

Research from the World Economic Forum and Mercer recommends to not treat women and men the same to specifically tackle the challenges that women face in retirement.

“If women follow the same retirement plan as men, they will fall short in retirement,” said Han Yik, Head of Institutional Investors Industry at the World Economic Forum.

Different approaches

The report suggests that retirement plans should target women differently and give them “confidence to handle their finances and consider different investment strategies.”

This change could already be happening, but it needs to have a much larger profile in the public consciousness. You can help tackle the gap by letting women know that clear financial advice is easily available and can make a difference to their long-term planning.

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