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Why women cannot afford to put off pension saving

Women's pensions are chronically underfunded, but there are steps you can take to regain control of your retirement.


by Michelle McGagh on May 24, 2012 at 10:43

Having a child will put financial pressure on women as their income drops to maternity pay levels, but forward planning can help ensure their pension does not suffer. 'If you are planning for a family, rather than freeze your pension payments, pay a lump sum into your pension in advance,’ Mackintosh said. 

‘If you pay a lump-sum contribution in before you stop work to have a family you are not putting yourself under pressure to find the money for contributions but you don’t lose out on your pension either.’

Getting back into the savings habit as soon as you go back to work is also crucial as you get used to the increased income and are less inclined to save, warned Mackintosh.

‘When you go back to work, start saving again as soon as you can before you get used to the higher salary and spending the money,’ she said.

‘If you leave it for a year or three years it is much harder to start saving again and your pension will be affected. And in 10 years' time we are having a conversation about how you have not saved enough because you focused on your kids and didn’t save enough.’

Caring for others

Women’s careers are not only interrupted by caring for their children; they also regularly end up caring for other relatives in later life.

In 2007 a survey of more than 600 women by Age Concern, now part of Age UK, showed that 22% were caring for one older or disabled relative or friend. Typically the women with caring duties fell into the 45 to 59 age bracket.

A total of 44% of women spent fewer than 20 hours a week caring for their relative or friend, but 11% were spending more than 35 hours a week without receiving carer’s allowance.

If a friend or relative needs long-term care it is predominantly the woman who will take on the caring role.

Mackintosh said women should understand that not only do they tend to live longer than men, which means they need to make adequate provision, but they are more likely to be caring for those around them. Paying into a pension is particularly important as they will not have as much time in employment to pay into a pension.

‘Women are living longer and so they will need a larger pension, not a smaller pension, but we can’t seem to get that statistic into our heads,’ said Mackintosh.

‘Women need to realise they need to look after themselves, it’s not a selfish thing to do because many women will be looking after people around them [when they are older].’

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3 comments so far. Why not have your say?


May 24, 2012 at 13:23

We live in a society of equal rights now, so it doesn't matter if you are male or female you should be saving for a pension.

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May 24, 2012 at 15:01

Women live a lot longer than men

Girls you might be 30 years or more in retirement

So unless you want to spend your last 20 years in an NHS "care" home hovel being abused by foreign workers on £6 an hour, you'd better get saving

Buy property - as young as you can - then it will support you when you are 120

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May 24, 2012 at 15:10

Some women live longer than some men. It's intersecting normal distributions.

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