In Canada, when planning for retirement, about one-half of all men (49 per cent) and women (54 per cent) share responsibility for making decisions about saving for retirement. However, the gap widens when it comes to men (34 per cent) and women (24 per cent) who said they take, or are given, sole responsibility for these decisions, according to a survey by HSBC.
There is greater gender equality in China and South Korea, where three per cent fewer women than men take sole responsibility for retirement planning, found the survey of 17,849 people in 17 countries. Taiwan is the only country where more women than men say they are solely responsible for taking decisions about saving for retirement (39 per cent compared to 35 per cent of men).
Many women believe they are more involved in planning their financial future than men think they are. When asked who is involved in making or reviewing their financial plans, women are more likely than men to say they share this process with their spouse or partner, found The Future of Retirement: Why family matters.
"It is disappointing and concerning to see that there is still such inequality globally between men and women of all ages when it comes to making decisions about saving for retirement. Preparing for retirement is one of the most important aspects of financial planning, and a lack of involvement is leaving women potentially exposed to financial hardship in later life,” said Margaret Willis, executive vice-president and head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC Bank Canada.
Retirement planning is a key area where men tend to take the lead globally, with four in 10men (39 per cent) claiming sole decision-making responsibility, compared to 25 per cent of women. The figure falls to just one in 10 women (11 per cent) claiming sole responsibility in the United Arab Emirates, compared to 45 per cent of men.
Women need to be encouraged to play a more active role in financial decision-making, said Willis.
“While it might be practical for one partner to take the lead in research or action, decisions should be discussed and made jointly on a fully informed basis. This will help ensure that families are better prepared for the future and will also ensure women are less financially vulnerable."
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