Overcoming the gender pensions gap

Women are saving more than ever into pensions, but still lag behind men.

The good news is that more women are saving for retirement, and the size of the pension contributions they are making has increased, according to Scottish Widows. However, men are still saving more, benefiting generally from an additional £78,000 in their pension pot at retirement.

The main cause of the so-called “gender pension gap” is the gender pay gap. The fact that women are more likely to work part-time, or take time out of the workplace to look after young children or elderly parents, exacerbates the problem. Other life events, like divorce, can also impact negatively on women’s savings.

How to boost your own pension savings

The report found that over half of women (57%) were now saving enough for their retirement. But perhaps, not surprisingly, self-employed women and those in lower earnings brackets remain under-prepared for their retirement.

Those looking to bolster their pensions should try to maximise savings. Join a workplace pension and your contributions are boosted by tax relief and contributions from your employer. If you increase your contributions you may also get more from your employer.

While self-employed workers don’t benefit from an employer’s contribution, they will still benefit from the tax relief.

In addition, don’t overlook your partner’s pension. It may pay a generous benefit to a surviving spouse. If you are not married (nor in a civil partnership) you may need to sign a declaration form to qualify for this benefit. But at the same time, remember, a partner is not a pension plan: aim to build pension savings in your own name.

The value of your investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Occupational pension schemes are regulated by The Pensions Regulator.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice. Tax laws can change.

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