'Economically inactive' women need help to retire

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'Economically inactive' women need help to retire
Photo: Marcus Aurelius via Pexels
BySimoney Kyriakou

Women aged 50 and above may be considered economically inactive prior to state pension age but they tend to be the group most in need of financial help.

This is according to adviser Tim Morris, IFA with Russell & Co, who said he had several female clients who have retired or wanted to retire early, but warned: "Those who are retiring earlier than their occupational pension age should firstly engage a financial planner."

In August, figures from the Office for National Statistics suggested women are far more likely to be economically inactive prior to state pension age than men at all older ages.

At 50 years old, 17.9 per cent of women were economically inactive compared with 9.6 per cent of men. The ONS also said that, by age 64, 58.6 per cent of women are considered economically inactive, compared with 44.9 per cent of men.

With the current age at which people can receive an occupational pension being 55 and set to rise to 57 in 2028, this poses potential issues for female finances, especially as women tend to have lower pension pots and tend to live longer than men, meaning their money will have to stretch further into retirement.

Although many older women may be doing unpaid voluntary or caring work (either for children, grandchildren or older family members), which enables others to be economically active, Morris said it was important that anyone thinking of retiring early needed to work out whether or not they could afford it.

Morris said: "Assuming they’ve already engaged a financial planner, most will tend to phase into retirement these days.

"Only those female clients I have had from an earlier age have grand plans to retire as early as possible. And, of course, these plans will likely change over the course of 10 to 20 years.

"As has been wisely professed, 'failing to plan is planning to fail'."

Earlier this year, Abrdn (formerly Standard Life Aberdeen) published its Class Of 2021 report.

This found 66 per cent of 2021 retirees risked not having the pension savings to sustain their planned retirement income. Just two in five (39 per cent) felt very confident they were financially ready to finish working this year, with only 34 per cent of women feeling very confident compared with 43 per cent of male respondents.

At the time, Ben Hampton, head of retirement advice at Abrdn, commented: "Deciding how and when to retire is one of the biggest life decisions and transitions we make. 

"Longer life expectancy, volatile investment markets and ever-changing regulation can make planning and preparing for retirement feel confusing, not to mention the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s immediate and longer-term financial priorities and plans."