Women should be thinking of Pensions – not Prada – this Christmas

on Dec 08 in Is it my crisis? , State pension tagged by Claire Brinn

Women tend to fare badly on the pensions front – not surprising when you realise that the whole pensions system was developed in our male-dominated past.  Only one third of women who are currently at retirement age qualify for a full state pension, so most are financially dependent on their husbands.

The differences continue in today’s society – women are more likely than men to work part time and have career breaks to care for children and, these days, ageing parents.   Women are still paid less than men in many professions and so any pension funds will be correspondingly smaller.

There is an argument that the increasing number of well qualified women who work full time will filter through and the pension numbers will look better. There is also the view that the recent changes in the rules for qualifying for a full state pension will make a big difference. I don’t think it will – 30 years full contributions strikes me as unlikely for many women who still bear the brunt of child care responsibilities.

I would argue that there are a series of social changes happening that are likely to make the situation even worse if women don’t take action. They are:

  • The growing number of lone parent families in the UK. Currently a quarter of all dependent children live with just one parent – and 90% of these parents are women.
  • The divorce rate in the UK is high and has been growing in the 60+ age category, so there is no guarantee that your marriage will survive.

Women need to start prioritising their pension savings to protect themselves from a miserable retirement.  As the TV Ad says: “You’re worth it!”.  Today would be a good day to start.

Claire Brinn

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