In Focus: Retirement Income  

Women take action to boost their pension

Women take action to boost their pension
 Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Younger women are taking greater action to boost their pension pots to help close the so-called gender pension gap. 

According to research commissioned by consultancy Barnett Waddingham, 44 per cent of women have taken some action in light of figures showing a gender pensions gap. 

The company surveyed 2,001 UK adults at the end of April, 1,023 of whom are women. The questions regarding what actions women have taken, and plan to take, regarding their pension were asked only to women who are not retired and who have a workplace and/ or private pension.

This amounted to 433 individuals. Among these respondents, there was a clear indication that sisters were doing it for themselves to avoid being worse off financially in retirement than their male counterparts.

The study found 14 per cent of women have already increased their monthly contributions into their workplace pension. When broken down into age categories, those aged 18 to 34 were the most likely to have started shoring up their workplace pensions.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, more women in full-time work than in part-time work had started to put more aside each month.

Other action included seeking advice and guidance.  Some 9 per cent of women said they have have spoken to their partner about pension savings and the pensions gap, while 8 per cent have sought financial advice to increase retirement savings.

The study found women with a private pension or a self-invested personal pension are much more likely to have sought financial advice, at 13 per cent.

A fifth (20 per cent) of women responding said they were planning to increase monthly contributions into their pension, in order to build more substantial retirement savings. 

The study followed the company's gender pensions gap report, published in March, which showed women have 25 per cent to 45 per cent less in their pension pots at retirement than men.

The report found even a two year-long career break could result in a pension pot 10 per cent lower than a woman with no career breaks. 

A 35-year-old would need to increase contributions by an additional 1 per cent of pensionable pay to make up this shortfall. A woman waiting until she’s 55 will need to increase contributions by around 6 per cent of pensionable pay.The findings: 

Actions non-retired women with pensions have done, or plan to do, as a result of the gender pensions gap

Steps I have taken already regarding my pension

Steps I plan to take regarding my pension

Increase my monthly contributions into my pension

14 %

20 %

Put a lump sum into my pension

4 %

9 %

Speak to my employer/ pension provider about increasing my contributions

8 %

9 %

Seek financial advice to increase my retirement savings

8 %

14 %

Speak to friends and family about pension savings/ the gender pensions gap

8 %

8 %

Speak to my partner about pension savings/ the gender pensions gap

9 %

9 %

Reduce my monthly contributions into my pension

4 %

3 %

Support campaigns that call on the Government to change policies to support women’s pensions

9 %

10 %

N/A - None of the above

56 %

45 %

Source: Barnett Waddingham

Amanda Latham, policy and strategy lead at Barnett Waddingham, said: “Recent months have shed light on the gender pensions gap – leaving women dangerously underprepared financially for retirement – and it seems that this is not falling on deaf ears.

"A proportion of women have acted already to either build their savings or seek support from professionals or loved ones, and even more are planning on taking significant steps to close the gap themselves.

"While this is encouraging, it’s critical that the onus for change does not fall on individuals alone – the pension system is intrinsically biased towards men, creating a stark disparity in wealth at retirement that needs to be addressed at its core."