Research from Royal London found that significant numbers of younger women have no long-term financial plans of their own, with older women also relying heavily on the pension rights of their spouse or partner.
Around 45% of women living with a partner said they were either not confident or did not know if their long-term financial plans would be adequate if their current relationships failed.
Just 34% of men felt the same.
Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, described the findings as “extremely worrying”.
Women lagging behind
Initiatives such as auto-enrolment have boosted the number of women saving into a pension.
But data shows little evidence that women are taking more responsibility for their long-term planning.
Only 38% of women (aged 18-34) living with a partner said they were either ‘very’ or ‘reasonably’ confident in their long-term planning.
This compares with 58% of men the same age.
Worryingly, 30% of this age group of women haven’t made any long-term financial plans.
Just 12% of men said the same.
This inherent lack of confidence was evident even in older age groups.
Just 56% of women aged 55 or over, who were living with a partner, described themselves as ‘very confident’ or ‘reasonably confident’ that their plans would be adequate in the event their relationship failed.
This compares with 68% of men in the same category.
Risk severe financial difficulty
Morrissey added: “We still have a long way to go to ensure women are building resilient retirements plans.
“While it can be tempting to rely on the pension provision of a partner, particularly if it is generous, women risk financial meltdown should the relationship fail and they could find themselves in severe financial difficulty.”
She continued: “We need to build on the success of auto-enrolment and encourage women to start saving early and build up their contributions, so they can build a strong financial foundation for themselves.”