In Focus: Advice for Women  

'Opportunity' for advisers to improve later-life care

'Opportunity' for advisers to improve later-life care

Advisers have a 'great opportunity' to engage women earlier on in life to help improve financial literacy and understanding around retirement planning, specialists have said.

Speaking to FTAdviser In Focus for its latest podcast, Tish Hanifan, founder of the Society of Later Life Advisers, said: "Financial services has a great opportunity to engage women earlier."

But she said: "We need to have more education for women around pensions. What would happen if your husband died? What would be your pension outcome? A lot of women do not consider this and do not even consider financial advice. 

"It's about getting them to take that responsibility."

Will Hale, chief executive of Key, said education was definitely important, and stressed that women tend to have far lower pension pots than men, so often rely on the property rather than investment assets.

He said: "For women, the property is a significant asset that needs to be taken into account as they move through that later-life financial planning.

"As an industry, we need to think about how we can engage women earlier in their retirement planning journey, and how we engage them differently, recognising that their needs might be different from those of their male counterparts."

However, there was an unusual differential when it came to later-life and end-of-life planning. 

Ben Mason, chief executive of Kinherit, commented: "Based on our studies, it is the women who drive end-of-life planning, trusts and will writing.

"Why is it that men want to know all about financial literacy while they are alive, and women do not, but that when it comes to doing the will, or getting trust and power of attorney, it is the women are driving this?

"On the one hand there is a lack of knowledge, and on the other there is a big push from women. So we need to understand the drivers behind this."

Hale said: "The mindset needs to change from financial advisers not just about investment assets but about other assets too, such as the home."

The podcast panel also discussed the various ways in which women can help fund their long-term care - notwithstanding the government's latest 1.25 percentage point national insurance hike to pay for social care - as well as leaving an inheritance for their children.

Hanifan added: "Listening to Mason talking about wills and trusts, and Hale talking about equity release, this demonstrates something important: holistic. 

"Each piece of advice - such as get a trust or use the property - is a great piece of advice but one would have to look at this holistically. What if you needed equity release to pay for care, but the property is held in a trust?"

She said, therefore, advisers needed to take all the various aspects of financial planning into account when looking at how to help people achieve their needed income in retirement.