HSBC Survey: men still take the lead in retirement planning

VANCOUVER, Nov. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - A global study of attitudes to retirement and financial planning commissioned by HSBC reveals that 65 % of men make all or most of their household's financial decisions without input from anyone else.

The only area where women are more likely to be the decision-maker is in managing the household budget, where 37% of women globally take sole responsibility, compared to 34% of men. Even here, this gender gap disappears among those in their thirties, with younger men taking a stronger interest in domestic budgeting than older generations.

In Canada, when planning for retirement, about half of all men (49%) and women (54%) say they share responsibility for making decisions about saving for retirement. However, the gap widens when it comes to men (34%) and women (24%) who say they take, or are given, sole responsibility for these decisions.

There is greater gender equality in China and South Korea, where just 3% fewer women than men take sole responsibility for retirement planning. Taiwan is the only country where more women than men say they are solely responsible for taking decisions about saving for retirement (39% compared to 35% of men).

These findings come as part of the latest in a series of reports on retirement and financial planning from HSBC, entitled The Future of Retirement: Why family matters, which is based on a survey of 17,000 people in 17 countries across five continents.

Retirement planning is a key area where men tend to take the lead globally, with four in ten men (39%) claiming sole decision-making responsibility, compared to 25% of women. The figure falls to just one in ten women (11%) claiming sole responsibility in UAE, compared to 45% of men.

Many women believe they are more involved in planning their financial future than men think they are. When asked who is involved in making or reviewing their financial plans, women are more likely than men to say that they share this process with their spouse or partner.

Margaret Willis, Executive Vice President, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Bank Canada, said: "It is disappointing and concerning to see that there is still such inequality globally between men and women of all ages when it comes to making decisions about saving for retirement. Preparing for retirement is one of the most important aspects of financial planning, and a lack of involvement is leaving women potentially exposed to financial hardship in later life."

HSBC found that the discrepancy between the sexes in planning for retirement is consistent across all age groups, suggesting that attitudes to this aspect of the family finances are not changing over time.

Research released by HSBC in May this year showed that many women are not prepared for retirement, with just 24% of women in their fifties claiming to have a financial plan in place.

The findings of the survey suggest that many women are aware of the potential risk that this poses, especially among those working part-time, 30% of whom said they think they will not be able to cope financially when they retire. These women are also more likely than any other group (61%) to see good financial planning as extremely important in achieving a happy retirement.

Willis added:  "Women need to be encouraged to play a more active role in financial decision-making. While it might be practical for one partner to take the lead in research or action, decisions should be discussed and made jointly on a fully informed basis. This will help ensure that families are better prepared for the future and will also ensure women are less financially vulnerable. However, it is also important to acknowledge that no two families are the same, and to take into account cultural differences. Financial advice should be flexible and tailored to individual need."

Notes to editors:

The Future of Retirement: Why family matters

HSBC's The Future of Retirement programme is a world-leading independent study into global retirement trends. It provides authoritative insights into the key issues associated with ageing populations and increasing life expectancy around the world. Since the Future of Retirement programme began in 2005, more than 110,000 people worldwide have been surveyed.

This report, Why family matters, is a supplementary report to the main 2011 report, The power of planning, the sixth in The Future of Retirement series. Both reports highlight findings from a survey of more than 17,000 people in 17 countries.

The countries surveyed were: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, UK, and the USA. The report surveyed 17,849 people of working age (mostly between 30 and 60 years). The research was conducted online in December 2010 and some survey data was collected on both a household and individual basis. For further information on this and previous reports, visit

The HSBC Group

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,691bn at 30 June 2011, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations.

HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, is the leading international bank in Canada.


Cicero Consulting

A leading consultancy firm serving the banking, insurance and asset management sector, Cicero specialises in public policy consulting as well as global thought leadership and independent market research. Cicero was established in 2001 and now operates from offices in London, Brussels, Washington and Singapore.



For further information:

Media enquiries:

Ernest Yee
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
HSBC Bank Canada
(604) 641-2973
      Fabrice de Dongo
Senior Manager, Public Affairs
HSBC Bank Canada
(416) 868-8282


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