LEBC launches guide on pension planning for women

LEBC launches guide on pension planning for women

National adviser LEBC has published a guide for women on how to overcome challenges to retirement saving and improve their pension pot.

The guide outlined various stages of life in which women face the biggest challenges to saving for retirement and provided suggestions as to how they can overcome these.

Although the median gender pay gap has reduced slightly from 9.7 per cent to 9.6 per cent, women still only receive 20 per cent of the pension savings of their male counterparts at the age of 65, according to data published by the Chartered Insurance Institute in 2018.

This gap is mainly the result of women taking more career breaks than men, taking part-time work and taking on care responsibilities, LEBC stated.

Kay Ingram, director of public policy at LEBC, said: "There is an attitude that women put their career on the backburner when they decide to have children or take on care responsibilities and expect their spouse to look after them financially.

"Women must pay more attention to their own finances and this includes making sure they save enough for their retirement."

"Much like the publicity the gender pay gap received, the pensions gap needs to be highlighted. There needs to be campaigns from the likes of HMRC, Pension Wise and women’s institutes to get women more involved in their own pensions and to better understand them."

Ms Ingram said she was most concerned about the age group late 30s to late 40s.

"The younger generation will benefit from auto enrolment and the older generation is likely to have started boosting their pension pot already. This middle age group however, did not have the benefit of auto enrolment to save early," she said.

LEBC created the guide to begin to lower this gap and get more women to actively pay into their pension.

It stated expectant mothers should continue to contribute to their pension pot throughout maternity leave as while in receipt of statutory maternity pay an employer must continue to pay into a pension.

For example, if a woman on £32,00 per annum who saves 4 per cent via salary sacrifice with her employer contributing 8 per cent decided to opt out of the pension scheme three months before maternity she would save £217.60 in tax and national insurance but would lose employer contributions of £4,480.

Ms Ingram also suggested all women should be auto-enrolled into a pension scheme and should use part of the family budget to pay into their pension pot or to keep retirement savings if and when they decide to take a career break.

"What some people don’t realise is that even though their pension scheme was set up by their employer, it is owned by the individual and they can continue to add to their pots," she said.

However if this is not possible due to it not being a portable group personal pension, then individuals should open a new personal pension and set up a direct debit to make regular savings, the guide advised.