The coronavirus pandemic is likely to exacerbate the gender savings gap, with a greater proportion of women saying they will decrease pension contributions in the next six months.
Recent research by Aegon has focused on attitudes towards savings and investment in light of Covid-19 and subsequent market turmoil.
It founds women were more likely to stop contributions and less likely to use any fall in markets to invest more – both of which could widen rather than reduce the pensions gap between men and women.
In total 15 per cent of women said they were likely to decrease pension contributions in the next six months, compared to 10 per cent of men.
In contrast between March and July just under half of men (47 per cent) said they considered it the right time to increase the amount they invest, to take advantage of any recovery in stock markets. This compares to just 31 per cent of women.
In July, more than half of all men (54 per cent) said that they had checked the performance of their investments in the last four weeks compared to less than a third (28 per cent) of women who did so.
Furthermore, over double the number of men (48 per cent) said they paid attention to the stock markets in July compared to women (22 per cent).
Aegon pensions director Steven Cameron says: “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 benefitting 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.”
He adds: “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 wellbeing in both the short and long-term.”