JOHANNESBURG - Women need to save more for retirement but have less saved and, more alarmingly, are “rejecting the best chance they have of closing the gap”, according to a report on retirement readiness in South Africa.

10X Investments’ first annual Retirement Reality Report (RRR), released last month, indicates that women are not saving sufficiently for retirement, in comparison with men. The survey points to the gender pay gap, where women are understood to earn about a quarter less than their male counterparts - a disparity that drastically reduces savings potential. It demonstrates that lack of equity is “exacerbated by the increased likelihood that women’s careers will be interrupted by pregnancy and child-rearing”.

The survey also found that more women than men have no form of retirement savings plan (43% of female respondents compared with 39% of men).

“Women tend to prioritise expenditure for living costs associated with childcare and parenting over planning for retirement,” the report found. What makes this disparity more of a concern is that women, on average, are expected to live longer than men. According to Statistics SA’s 2018 mid-year population estimates, “Life expectancy at birth is estimated at 61.1 years for males and 67.3 years for females.”

Even more worrying is the RRR’s conclusion that women in general “are rejecting the best chance they have of narrowing the gender gap” in retirement, by not investing their savings over time for growth.

The report - which is based on data gathered for 10X Investments by Brand Atlas consumer surveys conducted in 2017 - suggests that women are more likely to save but less likely to invest their savings. 

Supplied/ PERSONAL FINANCE