Defined Contribution  

Gender pension gap seen among kids

Gender pension gap seen among kids

Parents and grandparents are more likely to save into a boy's pension than a girl's, according to data from HM Revenue & Customs.

The figures, obtained by Hargreaves Lansdown through a Freedom of Information request, showed that 13,000 girls aged 15 or under had money paid into a pension for them in 2016/17, which compared with 20,000 boys.

Nathan Long, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, noted the data indicated that the gender pension gap could be starting from birth.

He said: “Whilst women’s paltry pension savings are rightly blamed on the gender pay gap and their greater role in looking after the family, there is another villain in the piece.

“It’s counter intuitive that there are more pensions for boys as women earn less, take more career breaks, and yet have longer retirements, so need more in their pension.

“It’s unclear why this discrepancy exists, although it could be because gifting has come in part from a generation of baby boomers where men are typically more likely to have the lion’s share of pension in retirement.”

According to data from union Prospect, the pensions gender gap increased to 39.9 per cent in 2017/18, representing a gap in retirement income of £7,000 between women and men.

Calculations from Hargreaves Lansdown showed that contributing just £100 per month until the child reaches age 18 can boost their pension by £130,000 by the time they reach retirement, while amounting to a cost of only £21,600 plus tax relief of £5,400, the firm stated.

Mr Long said: “Saving from a young age can give a huge boost to your pension at retirement, providing the possibility of early retirement which in the future will be all but extinct.

“It also takes the pressure off people having to save more for their retirement during the early years of their career, when pennies are often tight.”

Current rules allow individuals without any earnings to pay up to £2,880 every year into a pension and receive 20 per cent tax relief (up to £720), including children.

This means it's possible for parents and grandparents to pay into a plan on a child’s behalf, and pensions can be set up with contributions from as little as £20 per month.

Once in the pension, the money can grow free of capital gains tax and can be drawn from the age of 55 under current rules.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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