The pension gap: Life expectancy means women need to save more for retirement

Posted on

The pension gap between men and women is closing. But, once life expectancy is taken into consideration, women still need to save an extra £185,000 for retirement, on average, according to the Scottish Widows 2021 Women and Retirement report.

The report finds that young women in their 20s today can expect to have around £250,000 in their pension by the time they retire. For men, the figure is £100,000 higher at £350,000. On top of this, women are expected to live for longer and pay for the associated care costs of this, so they need to add a further £85,000 to be financially secure throughout retirement.

To reach this goal, women in their mid-20s today will need to save an extra £2,500 each year, or £210 a month, until they retire.

Jackie Leiper, managing director of workplace savings at Scottish Widows, said: “It’s well known that the gender pay gap has a damaging affect on women’s retirement prospects. But women face a double whammy: even if we close the pension savings gap, pension equality would still not be achieved, because women need to fund a longer retirement and spend more on associated care costs.”

One of the reasons highlighted for the pension gap is the gender pay gap. The median salary for a man is £31,400, for a woman, it’s £20,500. It means even if men and women contribute the same portion of their salary to a pension, women are much more likely to face financial insecurity in retirement. Taking control of your pension before you retire can help you achieve long-term goals and have confidence.

3 things women can do to improve their financial security in retirement

1. Don’t forget about your pension when taking a career break

One of the reasons women have smaller pension pots on average is because they’re more likely to take a career break. Whether to raise a family, care for elderly relatives, or another reason, this can affect your retirement plans.

It can be easy for pensions to slip your mind when you’re not working, as contributions will often be automatically deducted from your paycheque. But this doesn’t mean you have to stop adding to your pension when you’re not at work. You won’t benefit from employer contributions, but you will still receive tax relief to deliver a boost to the money you put in.

You can add pension contributions to suit you. This could mean setting up a direct debit to take a specified amount regularly or adding one-off sums when you can. This flexibility means you can stop and start pension contributions depending on your circumstances.

2. Boost your current pension contributions

The report also measures the proportion of men and women that are deemed to be saving adequately for their retirement. This is defined as those saving a minimum of 12% of their pensionable earnings into a pension. This figure compares to the minimum auto-enrolment contribution of 8%.

The good news is that the gap between men and women saving adequately for retirement has closed. 6 in 10 men and women are now found to be saving enough for a comfortable retirement. Yet, that means 4 in 10 could still face financial struggles when they retire.

If you have the means to do so, even a small increase in regular pension contributions can have a large impact. These contributions will benefit from tax relief and be invested with the goal of delivering long-term growth. Over a career, the effect of compounding means your pension contributions can grow significantly.

3. Have a clear target for your pension

While the report gives an idea of how much women need to save for retirement, it can vary a lot for different people. If you’re still working, retirement can seem like a long way off, but thinking about your plans now can help you set a clear target and give you confidence that you’re on track. Answering questions like the below can help build an accurate pension target that’s right for you.

  • At what age would you like to retire?
  • Do you want to transition into retirement?
  • What kind of retirement lifestyle would you like?
  • What will your financial commitments be?

By taking this information, along with areas like life expectancy and expected investment growth into consideration, you can better understand if the steps you’re taking now will mean you can reach your retirement goals.

Getting to grips with your pension can be challenging. If you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help you. Whether you’re still working or are ready to retire, we can offer advice and guidance to help you make the most of your pension contributions.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts.

 

We aim to keep our clients up to date on interesting and relevant financial news.

You can sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter by email, even if you’re not yet a client. Sign-up using the form below.

Client testimonials

I have always found Black Swan to be caring and understanding of my quirky lifestyle. I always feel they try to get me the best returns while respecting my current needs.

Sally Muir

A client since 2011

We would be very happy to recommend the support and service we receive.

Valerie Locks

A client since 2010

I have always been completely useless regarding finance - thankfully our financial adviser is not! I've retired with far more than I ever expected and investments continue to grow safely. So - thank you!

Bernadette Jane Warner

A client since 2000

Very happy with the professional service I have received and feel a lot happier now with my finances put in order.

Martin Field

A client since 2011

Julie Cooper was recommended to me by a work colleague. She has been very helpful, professional and has explained everything well. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone else who are interested in a financial review.

Steven Rooke

A client since 2018

…Service has been first class.

Hugh Fells

A client since 2012

My face to face meetings with Rob Young and Jessica Lyons have always been very open and understandable. My questions have been answered clearly and I have left feeling that my financial matters are in good hands.

Sandra Jack

A client since 2000

[A] safe pair of hands in a complex financial world.

Gary Middlehurst

A client since 2003

A reliable company with good communication skills and good knowledge of the financial markets.

Alan Evetts

A client since 2014

Maureen Pembridge is a long-time trusted advisor to our family. The market might fluctuate but her attention to detail is consistent.

Linda Burnard

A client since 2000

I am pleased to recommend Julie as a trustworthy financial advisor. She explains financial jargon in plain language, and always listens carefully to my particular financial needs and has helped me make the best of my savings.

Carolann Samuels

A client since 2010

I have always been satisfied with the way that Black Swan has handled my account. And I have always found the staff very helpful whenever I need to call the office.

Robert Anthony Matthews

A client since 2012

An excellent personal service from a person I know and trust.

Michael Dalton

A client since 2010

I am getting a very good services from Black Swan, they have got my investments sorted out which was in a bit of a mess.

Roy Jakens

A client since 2012

A good, efficient team providing clear ideas to shape a winning strategy.

Adrian Michael Levenstein

A client since 2011

Black Swan is a company to be trusted, with friendly staff and professional advisors.

David Brian Jennings

A client since 2017

I have been with Black Swan for many years. I have never wished to change anything. They give a good straight forward service.

Martin Barrett Brooks

A client since 2010

Andy Peters has been invaluable in firstly combining several pension pots and then giving excellent investment advice. It has given us a great deal of comfort to know that our financial affairs are in such good hands.

James Guillum Scott

A client since 2014

I find my financial advisor easy to talk to and feel that she understands my lifestyle. She is always available for help when I need her and explains in words that I can understand.

Margaret Ena Glasgow

A client since 2000

Andy is a first rate Director, excellent communicator and leader.

Ross Perry

A client since

Black Swan Financial Planning and Andrew in particular, are very clever at working out how risk averse we are, and coming up with solutions that we feel comfortable with. We are happy in the knowledge that we can continue to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Andrew Peters is a very, very friendly person who is great to chat to and easy to deal with. He explains things very clearly in layman’s terms, and if we still don’t understand, he explains it until we do!

Alan & Jane Dyer

Clients since 2012

We have always found Rob [Young] to be very approachable and knowledgeable. We have every confidence in the advice given and feel comfortable with the decisions we’ve made. There are certain opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about if Rob hadn’t brought them to light, which makes the advice good value for money as far as we’re concerned.

Peter & Pauline O’Halloran

Clients since 2013

Rob [Young] is extremely knowledgeable. I knew nothing about the different types of trusts which will not only secure my income in retirement, but also leave a legacy for my children. I’m glad that I sought his advice when I did.

Sarah Wilson

A client since 2015

I am extremely happy with the service afforded to me by the company and my adviser Julie Cooper.

Geoff Coxell

A client since 2010

My wife and myself have been dealing with Black Swan for a number of years. We have met with different representatives from the company over the years and have found all very helpful in their own way. We met with James [Anderson] a few years ago and found him very helpful and knowledgeable. He keeps in contact with us on a regular basis. We find the Company information very helpful and we feel very secure with our finances.

Andrew Kirchen

A client since 2015

I have always found my adviser to be easy to contact, very professional in his approach, yet friendly and understanding. I have a sense of an experienced company behind him, really on the ball financially and with good standards.

B McBean

A client since 2011

Partner with the most reliable and experienced team of advisers

Enter your details & we'll be in touch to discuss your needs.
Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to a member of the team.





    Subscribe to our newsletter