Women are defying the gender pay gap and saving more for retirement than men – report

Women are more worried about their savings than men, and they plan ahead better than men do.
Every August, as the country observes Women’s Month, we hear the same old rhetoric about gender pay gaps and how women need to save more. While both remain true, South African women claim to have saved more on average than their male counterparts by almost half a million rand.
According to the 2022 Retirement Insights research report from retirement income specialist Just SA, women are also putting more thought into retirement planning than men are.
The study surveyed South Africans older than 50, in retirement or approaching it. About a quarter of female respondents have thought extensively about their potential cognitive decline and have made proper plans to protect their financial future, compared with just 16% of men.
According to the Human Sciences Research Council and the South African Institute of Race Relations, more than 40% of South African mothers are single parents.
The Just SA research report shows that women are less likely to take risks with their money compared with men.
About half of the men surveyed said they were confident they had enough money to cover their expenses in retirement, but only 38% of women felt the same way.
Heather Bell, business development manager at Just SA, says it is positive to see women taking strides in improving their financial literacy and independence, and being able to provide better for retirement.
“However, the results of Just Retirement Insights 2022 also reflect an overriding feeling of uncertainty from female respondents regarding their retirement future,” she says.
“For example, a quarter of female respondents confirmed that they cannot afford to lose any money in a market crash.”
According to Bell, women typically face additional gender-related pressures as they head into retirement, such as less income to save and a longer life expectancy.
Women underestimate life span
Just SA’s statistics show life expectancy for a 65-year-old in South Africa to be 87 for women as opposed to 82 for men, with 25% of women aged 65 likely to reach 94 and a further 10% living to celebrate their 100th birthday. Bell notes that increased longevity makes women more susceptible to degenerative diseases while increasing their chances of becoming a financial burden on children in their late stages of life.
Saleem Sonday, head of group savings and investments at Allan Gray, says important conversations and urgent action are now more necessary than ever to level the playing ...