- Women most likely to lose out to the Taxman warns The Co-operative Bank. Worryingly, the majority (66%) of British females will not be investing in an Individual Savings Account (ISA) before 5 April 2008, and are on track to become the ‘biggest losers‘ in the tax-free savings stakes according to new research from The Co-operative Bank Cash ISA’s.

Two thirds (20.3 million*) of women in the UK are without an ISA, and of the third that do have an ISA, only 32 per cent (6.5 million**) intend to invest ahead of this season’s deadline. This is in stark contrast to their ‘financially savvy’ male counterparts with almost half of men (14.2 million***) possessing an ISA, and 60 per cent (8.5 million****) set to take full advantage of the tax-free savings allowance.

Over a third of women (39%) surveyed on behalf of The Co-operative Bank Cash ISA’s admitted that on an average month they were unable to put any money away for a rainy day, with only 30 per cent saving an average of £25 every 4 weeks. However, the average British male manages to amass £40 a month in savings, with a fifth investing a minimum of £100 in a savings account every calendar month.

The Co-operative Bank warns that to maintain the lifestyle to which many women have become accustomed in old age, they need to save around 15 per cent of their salary each month and focus on what their financial approach is going to be in retirement. Recent estimates suggest that over 12 million Brits are not saving enough for their retirement with the majority of these women.

The research also found that women are the sex most likely to ‘worry’ about their money, with almost eight in ten (78%) confessing to being ‘concerned or extremely concerned’ about their lack of savings, and 80 per cent spending an average of 10 hours per week stressing about their finances.

Females are also twice as likely as their male counterparts to be ‘conscience consumers’ and ‘think with their hearts’ when choosing a cash ISA, as the overwhelming majority (87%) of women claim that a bank’s CSR policy is ‘important or very important’ when deciding where they want to invest their money.

Scott McPhail, Savings Product Manager at The Co-operative Bank said: “For women, financial planning is absolutely essential and not a maybe. Women can often retire earlier, and live longer than men, but many are simply not making enough provision for their futures and are failing to take advantage of tax-free savings.

“ Optimising your tax efficient benefits’ may sound like a complicated process but by simply starting to save as little as a pound in a Co-operative Bank cash ISA before 5 April women - and men alike - can help to ease the financial strain, and be assured that they’re saving with an ethical provider that’s ‘good with money’ on every level.”