Women’s financial wellbeing in retirement is influenced by a variety of contextual factors and by decisions women make during their life course.  

While New Zealand Superannuation offers a universal pension, women tend to have less net wealth at retirement than men. 

People's experience of retirement, and the impact of retirement income policy, is not the same for everyone.  

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission have published a deep dive on women’s financial capability.

Some of the key findings are:

  • Women in this study have lower overall financial wellbeing compared to men (58 out of 100, compared to 64 out of 100 for men), with wāhine Māori participants scoring lowest on all financial wellbeing outcomes.

  • Personal income plays a significant role in women’s financial resilience and wellbeing, with wāhine Māori overrepresented in the lowest personal income bracket.

  • Women are more likely than men to plan their budget exactly and to keep to the budget. 

  • There is a gender gap in KiwiSaver, as one in five women have an account but don’t contribute (22% compared to 16% of men), and men have significantly higher account balances — 39% of women with KiwiSaver estimate they have $10,000 or less in their account compared to 26% of men, and 26% of men believe they have over $50,000 compared to only 14% of women.

  • Financial education in schools and workplaces fails to reach or engage women as well as it does for men, although wāhine Māori and Pacific women are more likely than average to say they are accessing this information at work.

  • There is a gender gap in terms of resilience for the future and preparedness for retirement is exacerbated by relationship status, and widowed women were the least prepared and resilient.

The Retirement Commission also collate resources around the impacts of retirement policy on different demographic groups in Aotearoa New Zealand, including women.

You can find out more on the Retirement Commission’s website.

Further reading: Gender Pay Gap

The Ministry has published a range of reports, action plans, and resources on the Gender Pay Gap.