Men and women cope with financial emergencies and home ownership in different ways, according to an HSBC study, “The Future of Retirement: A New Reality,” released Wednesday.

HSBC found in a survey of 15,000 consumers that nearly one-third of the men would consider dipping into their retirement funds to cope with tough financial times. Only 23 percent of the women surveyed said they would.

Only 14 percent of men would consider moving to a smaller house to ease the financial burden, while almost twice as many women (26 percent) said it was an option.

The study also showed the financial strain that home ownership is placing on American consumers. Twenty-nine percent of all the respondents said that buying a home or paying a mortgage has had a significant impact on their ability to save for retirement.

More than half (51 percent) of those surveyed admitted to not being regular savers. That means many of them will have little choice but to dip into retirement funds if they face financial hardship, said HBSC.

For those who have other options, 40 percent said they would tap into non-retirement savings and investments, while 23 percent said they would sell any valuables they had. Others would look to lending options to avoid parting with their assets: 14 percent would borrow money from a bank or another institution, while 17 percent would ask family and friends for help.

Andrew Ireland, the head of wealth management and premier banking at HSBC Bank USA, says that because homes are emotional investments, "people’s unwillingness to unlock their equity during times of hardship is understandable.”

"But unless people plan ahead," he continues, "they may be faced with no alternative. People need to take a new and more robust approach when it comes to financial planning. Regular saving will help them maintain living standards later in life.”