Gender Gap - The retirement impact
Looking at some recent research, I found a study that outlined that women in the EU receive 40% less in pension payments than men do. What alarmed me with this is that this is a much bigger gap than the often talked about gender pay gap, but it is the gender pay gap that is the main cause for the pension pay gap in Europe. The study stated that the gap is also expected to rise as more and more pension schemes move away from the older defined benefit schemes to schemes based on employment contributions. This study concerned me as KiwiSaver, our NZ retirement savings scheme is an employment based scheme where the more you earn, the more contributions go into your retirement savings account, both from an employee and employer perspective.
Assuming a continuous gender pay gap in NZ, we could have the same results at retirement for NZ women. Germany and the Netherlands who have similar retirement savings schemes are already seeing this gap but it could be potentially worse in NZ as our paid parental leave and child care support is not as favourable as those countries.
Considering statistically women live longer than men, this potential inequity in retirement funding becomes more of an issue. To compound this, there are some rather patronising comments from ‘experts’ stating that women are less likely to undertake investment risk leading up to retirement. Anecdotally I would say my clients, once educated about investment, are reasonably similar in their risk appetite regardless of gender. I believe that the difference may be in the likelihood of women seeking investment education and/or their access to it, but that is a separate discussion I will tackle in another article. In my personal experience, I feel both genders understand that where affordable, higher exposure to growth assets leading up retirement is beneficial.
I strongly encourage all women to seriously consider increasing their KiwiSaver contributions even if it is only slightly to help offset the lower amount they will potentially be paid over their lifetimes with their potentially longer retirement years they will enjoy.
I’m aware some of my current clients may jump up yelling and screaming at me for this, so I’m stating this needs to be a considered decision prioritising debt repayment over additional KiwiSaver contributions. Often when I work with my married (female) clients, we often plan on that disparity in contributions being corrected by joint assets and of course, separation statistics mean this is not always a guaranteed fix either.
The obvious and most sensible solution to this pension gap is to work towards removing the gender pay gap in New Zealand. Alternatively, I propose that the Government could legislate so that women get greater employer contributions than men to KiwiSaver but I am not sure that was one of Winston Peters’ bottom lines!
This is an opinion piece and is not to be taken as financial advice. A copy of my disclosure statement is available on request.
Market & Portfolio Update - April 2022
Global share markets continued their choppy start to 2022 during April.For New Zealand based investors, a fall in the NZ dollar played an important role in helping offset the volatility global share markets experienced. The NZ dollar fell against most major currencies supporting the returns of unhedged overseas assets (assets that are free to move with exchange rates). As a result, ‘unhedged’ overseas investments fell by only 1.8% for NZ based investors.
The KiwiSaver Gender Divide – Why are women saving less and what can be done to combat this?
Recent data shows that, on average, women have 20% less in their KiwiSavers than men. The gap being at its largest between men and women in their 40s and 50s. There are a few factors that come into play causing this divide and although it will take years to achieve equality, there are ways in which we can be proactive to help close the gap. As of August 2021, the gender pay gap is at 9.1% in New Zealand, a decrease of about 0.4% from 2020’s stats.