Article April 10, 2024

Women's retirement: overcoming obstacles

Women face persistent savings challenges, resulting in lower retirement incomes according to statistics. 

What solutions can be considered to help women protect themselves against these inequalities?

  • Suggested solutions involve revisiting certain biases. For example, a 50-50 split of expenses is not equitable if spouses have different incomes. The person who earns less will have more difficulty saving than they should. When the gaps are significant, even a proportional income sharing can be disadvantageous if net incomes are not considered. Candid conversations with couples can be beneficial.
  • Part-time work when children are young, career interruptions to care for family, and earlier retirement can reduce contributions to retirement plans and women's personal savings. A good approach may be to address these issues in advance and highlight the long-term impacts to stimulate discussions within the couple.
  • Financial education is essential for everyone. When women have lower incomes, they may lose interest in investment matters. Meetings with couples should involve both parties.
  • Many experts also note that women's risk approach differs from men's. Applied in a long-term investment context, an overly cautious approach can harm returns obtained by female savers. In this regard, explaining the benefits of risk when it comes to long-term retirement savings can change perceptions.


A context to consider

Structural challenges remain present, despite legislative progress such as the Pay Equity Act in Quebec. Statistics show that although the wage gap has narrowed over the years, it persists in different sectors and regions.

Furthermore, couple dynamics and domestic responsibilities contribute to these disparities, with women still often taking on a greater share of household and parental tasks. Maternity leaves and career choices influenced by the burden of domestic activities can hinder women's career progression, ultimately affecting their savings capacity. In the survey, 6% of women state that parental leave has hindered their savings in the past five years, compared to 3% of men who say the same.

Situations vary, of course, among individuals. Raising awareness of certain issues and proposing financial solutions to address them is part of the advisors' work.

Would you like to learn more about this topic? These elements are drawn from a comprehensive article in this edition of CSF+ magazine (on page 20, in French only). 

For detailed and practical tools, consult "Helping Couples Manage Their Finances" in the InfoDéonto toolkit.