Advisers helping clients arrange their retirement provision must seek to include both parties in the process, a senior wealth planner has claimed.
Speaking to FTAdviser In Focus, Rebecca Williams, head of wealth planning at Brown Shipley, said it was important that advisers sought to involve both partners in conversations about pension planning, whether the couple are married, in a civil partnership or even cohabiting.
According to Williams, a failure to do so could lead to one of the parties being less financially secure in retirement - and too often this could be the woman in the relationship, given other factors such as the gender pay gap and fewer years in work.
FTAdviser: Why do women in particular need to pay more attention to their pension earlier on in their working lives?
Rebecca Williams: For many women the pattern of regular pension contributions is typically interrupted by taking time out for children. This tends to coincide with years where earning potential and the ability to make contributions would otherwise be increasing.
Women who return to work part time or not at all will find that the ability to save into their pension is reduced, especially with the added pressure of childcare costs.
For women who return to work on a lower salary, it will also mean that employer pension contributions are reduced. As a general rule, everyone should pay attention to their pension as early as possible in their working life - the earlier you can start contributing the better.
FTA: What can advisers do to help couples speak more openly - for example traditionally the man has had the relationship with the financial adviser. How can advisers make sure that the woman is in the conversation, even if she is not the main breadwinner?”
RW: It is so important that both partners are involved in conversations about finances and planning for the future.
Small things make all the difference – including both partners on correspondence, making sure meetings are held at convenient times to fit around other responsibilities, actively seeking to understand what is important to female clients and really listening so you can adapt your style and present information in different ways.
Advisers must understand what suits their clients - some like numbers, others are more visual.
At the core, it is about making the effort to build a relationship with female clients, as what is important to them will often be different to what matters most to their male counterpart.
FTA: What investments and pensions might the couples consider together with their adviser?
RW: A review of their overall financial position, including pensions and investments, will ensure that their finances continue to be structured appropriately for retirement.
Retirement often prompts a conversation about the amount of investment risk being taken, especially if clients will rely on their investments and pension to provide income.