8 March 2022

HSBC UK: Women falling behind men with saving for their future

New research1 by HSBC UK has found that women are late bloomers when it comes to saving for their post-work future.

Worryingly, one in four women over the age of 35 have not saved anything towards their retirement, while around half (56%) have only saved a maximum of £1,000.

The average pension pot of a 65-year-old woman today is just 20% of the average pension pot for a 65-year-old man2. This, coupled with the fact that women generally live longer, means saving a nest egg is crucial to a financially comfortable retirement.

The majority (94%) of retired females responding to the HSBC UK survey said they need up to £30,000 a year to fund their lifestyle. However, one in ten (10%) reported not being able to afford their household bills and a third (30%) said they couldn’t cover the cost of running a car. Nearly a third (29%) of retired women are not financially comfortable.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, working age women have a more pessimistic view of retirement than men with over half (52%) saying they expect to struggle financially in later life compared to four in ten (47%) of men. Younger respondents are the most optimistic about their financial future post work, with two thirds (72%) saying they expect to live comfortably.

Commenting on the research, HSBC UK’s head of wealth management strategy, Emma Chee said: “Women are living longer so we need to ensure our money lasts as long as we do. Despite the state pension increasing this year, the threat of rising inflation and the increased cost of living means we need to take control of our own financial destiny.

“It’s never too early to start planning for your retirement. Whatever your age and needs having a plan in place can be a welcome reassurance. Nearly half of retired women (48%) we surveyed reported that the pandemic had negatively affected their retirement savings, and a third (31%) said they were relying on their partner’s pension. We never know what life may throw at us so it’s important to save and invest alongside a pension to allow for a comfortable retirement.”

HSBC UK has launched an online retirement calculator to help people plan their financial future, including how much they need to save per year to achieve their aspirations for later life. The tool will give you an indication of whether you’re on track and help you plan your next steps.

The bank is also hosting a free webinar and Q&A session for people nearing retirement and those looking to make the most out of their pension pots. ‘Understanding your pension’ will take place on 30 March and customers and non-customers can register to attend here

5 steps to take if you haven’t saved enough for retirement

  1. Maximise your pension contributions: If you can free up more cash to go towards your retirement, now’s the time to increase your pension contributions. For example, you could give up buying takeaway coffee for a year and put the money you save (£4 a week = £208 a year) into your pension instead. This way you can add as much as possible to your retirement savings and make the most of the tax relief from the government. The longer you have your money invested, the more time and potential it has to grow.
  2. Start saving more: The more you save now, the more you’ll have to retire on. Plus, the more time you’ll give that money to grow. So take a fresh look at your finances to see if you could be smarter with your money. Or think about whether you could generate any extra income for your retirement from a hobby or side job.
  3. Consider investing: If you can put money aside, you might consider investing into a stocks & shares ISA on top of your pension. There’s still time for your money to grow and an investment could give you more flexibility than investing in a pension. 
  4. Make the most of joint allowances: If you’re married, in a civil partnership or in a stable relationship with shared assets, it could make sense to look at both your pensions and savings together. Our retirement calculator can help you work out the joint cost of living – as two can retire more cheaply than one.
  5. Adjust your retirement plans: If you’re getting closer to retirement age and are concerned that you won’t have enough money, think about whether you can delay when you finish work. If that’s an option, let your pension provider know as it may make sense to change where your pension is invested. Switching to reduced working hours or ‘semi retirement’ can be a way to have more financial security while also achieving a better work-life balance.

HSBC My Investment is an online investment service available to the bank’s UK customers that allows people to invest with a starting amount of £50 per month, a lump sum of £1,000, or both, after completing a risk tolerance questionnaire.

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Langston, HSBC UK Press Office: hannah.langston@hsbc.com | 07384 792 248

For the latest news and updates, visit the HSBC UK newsroom:

Note to editors:

1Survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of HSBC UK. Sample size was 1,048 retirees and 2,695 non-retirees ranging from 18-55+. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5-6 January 2022.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

2Source: Jane Portas, author, ‘Solving Women’s pension deficit to improve retirement outcomes for all’ published by the Chartered Institute of Insurers (CII) ‘Insuring Women’s Futures’ programme, data derived from ONS.

Other findings:

  • Six in ten (62%) respondents took early retirement (before the age of 65) – women slightly more than men.
  • A quarter of men (25%) had more than £100,000 saved when they retired. 
  • One in five (19%) retirees had to decrease the amount they set aside for their retirement due to the pandemic. A fifth (22%) had to do so to support family members.
  • Nearly half (43%) of working age respondents expect to retire before the age of 65. 15% of over 55s expect to wait until age 70 to retire.
  • One fifth (23%) of over 55s still haven’t saved for their retirement.
  • Reliance on state pension decreases with age – only 40% of 18-24 year olds expect it to be their main source of income during retirement.
  • Just under half (42%) of men have a private pension as opposed to a third (34%) of women.
  • Just under half (41%) of respondents expect to go on a two week holiday abroad every year when they retire.
  • One fifth (22%) of respondents invest sustainably or have an ethical pension – 18-24 year olds are the most likely to have both and men are more likely to invest sustainably than women.

Top ten aspirations for retirement

  1. Spending time with friends and family
  2. Travelling
  3. Health and fitness
  4. Saving money
  5. Starting a new hobby
  6. Part time job
  7. Watching TV
  8. Move house
  9. Volunteering
  10. Start a new business


HSBC UK serves around 15 million customers across the UK, supported by 25,500 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates.

HSBC Holdings plc

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 64 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,976bn at 30 June 2021, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.