Men more likely to raid retirement savings in a crisis

7th August 2013

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British men are much more prepared to dip into their retirement savings than women, but are also more reluctant to downsize their house.

Some 17 per cent of men in the UK would consider dipping into their retirement funds to cope with tough times as a result of unforeseen life events compared to just 10 per cent of women, according to HSBC’s study The Future of Retirement: A new reality.

In the UK men are more reluctant to downsize their homes however. The study found that 26% of women would consider downsizing to deal with financial difficulty, compared to 18 per cent of men.

The survey of over 15,000 consumers in 15 worldwide markets found a significant appetite among savers to dip into retirement savings when faced with financial hardship.  However, it also found that 32 per cent are not regular savers, leaving many with no option but to resort to more extreme measures.

The study shows the financial strain that home ownership is placing on today’s savers with 30 per cent saying that buying a home or paying a mortgage has had a significant impact on their ability to save for retirement.

Selling the house is just one of the sacrifices people would consider making if their financial situation demanded it. Some 22 per cent of respondents said they would consider selling their valuables if they needed the money. However, others would consider borrowing to avoid parting with their assets while 16 per cent would borrow money and 22 per cent would ask friends and family for help.

Christine Foyster, head of business implementation, HSBC UK says: “There will always be reasons why people need access to cash to cover short term expenses: the key is to make sure that sufficient emergency funds are available so you don’t need to be tempted to ‘dip in’ to long term savings. It is worth considering having a balance of longer term savings and investments, which are harder to access, and some more accessible cash options, which can be used for the unforeseen ‘rainy day’ expenses.

“UK savers have never been under greater pressure to take responsibility for their own financial health in old age.  Whatever short term challenges and events people face, it is vital that they keep one eye on their longer term future and ensure that responding to short term needs doesn’t come at the expense of a comfortable retirement.”

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