Retirement plans reveal gender divide

  • Men more confident than women when it comes to most aspects of retirement plans
  • 64% of men confident of retiring at their planned age, vs 53% of women
  • Women more likely to have financial worries than men in retirement

New research1 by Canada Life has uncovered a gender divide when it comes to retirement confidence. In a survey of UK adults who had received advice from a professional adviser, nearly two-thirds of men (64%) were confident they will retire at the age they plan, compared to one in two (53%) women.


When asked about financial worries, 45% of women said they didn’t feel they would have any financial worries in retirement, in comparison to 58% of men. Men are also more likely to think they will completely stop working when they retire, compared to 55% of women.


One in two men (52%) are likely to phase into retirement, reducing their working hours over a number of years, compared to 40% of women.


Fewer women (50%) than men (60%) feel likely that they will be able to support family members financially if needed, once they had themselves retired. Women also felt less confident being able to leave a financial legacy, with 46% of women thinking they will be able to leave the desired amount to loved ones, compared to 54% of men.


Sean Christian, MD and Executive Director, Wealth Management Division Canada Life said:


“A retirement gender divide is clearly revealed in this research, with men showing a greater confidence in almost every aspect of their retirement plans. This has no doubt been exacerbated by the gender pensions gap, currently estimated2 to be twice the size of the gender pay gap. This gap in earnings and savings often appears when women take time away from work to bring up a family or decide to return to work part-time. Women are also more likely to work part-time in the types of low paid work where they miss out on the benefits of being auto enrolled into a pension, simply because they don’t meet the criteria.


“This inequality can only be addressed through decisive policy action to address the pension gender divide. Relatively simple changes to the way auto enrolment works today would benefit both men and women  but would go a long way towards levelling the playing field. Changes such as removing the lower contributions limit would let more people benefit from every pound earned, while removing the £10,000 threshold would make auto enrolment more inclusive and begin to level up pensions for all.”



  1. Source: research among 4,001 UK adults conducted by Opinium, of which 1,605 had received regulated financial advice, fieldwork between 6th – 9th July 2021. Results are based on those who have received advice from a professional adviser.
  2. Source: