Just three months before automatic enrolment begins to take effect, NEST research released today (Friday 6 July) finds women lack confidence in their retirement savings and many are relying on their partners’ pensions to see them through.


A quarter (25 per cent) of women say they are not confident at all that what they have put in place so far will be enough to provide for them in retirement, compared to just 13 per cent of men. A fifth (20 per cent) of women also counts their partner’s pension provision as part of their own retirement plans, compared to just 9 per cent of men who do the same.


However, women responded more positively than men to every indicator of reasons to stay opted into a workplace pension. Approximately 5.5m women will benefit from automatic enrolment, which comes into force from October 2012.


Around two thirds (63 per cent) of women cite the fact that someone else is sorting out their retirement as a reason to stay opted in, compared to 54 per cent of men who say the same, and nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of women agree it would be the relief they could stop worrying they hadn’t done anything for retirement, compared to 65 per cent of men who agree with this.


Receiving employer contributions is a more important factor for women (74 per cent) than men (64 per cent) as is being able to take a break in contributions, with 75 per cent of women agreeing this was an important factor in them staying opted in, compared to 69 per cent of men.


Speaking alongside Marta Phillips, CEO of the Pensions Advisory Service and Deidre Flood, Prudential’s retirement expert, at an event organised by Prudential earlier this week, Helen Dean, Managing Director of NEST, said about these findings:


‘Poverty in retirement is a serious issue for women. Automatic enrolment will allow millions of women to benefit from a workplace pension for the first time and should be a major confidence boost.


‘NEST has been specifically designed for the new generation of savers benefitting from automatic enrolment. NEST has low charges, which is important as this means our members keep more of their retirement savings.


‘For women, who are more likely to take time out of work, the charges they pay for a NEST pension get lower if they stop contributions for a while. If their circumstances change, for example if they want to take time out to have a child, they can stop contributing for a while and start again when they go back to work.’