In Focus: Advice for Women  

How to help close the gender pension gap

  • To understand why the pension gap persists.
  • To be able to encourage people to start saving earlier into their pension.
  • To be able to explain why saving small amounts early can bolster pension pots.
CPD
Approx.30min

Consolidate

Women are often leaving and re-entering the workplace, switching employers etc, which can mean they have lots of different pension pots.

If you have clients who are in this situation, helping them to consolidate them into one scheme not only removes the hassle of managing lots of different plans, but it could also reduce fees and open up access to a wider range of investments. 

Being open and honest with their partner

As with all financial issues, being open and honest is really important when it comes to pension savings, so encourage clients to talk openly with their partner or spouse.

Ensure they know what investments, savings and pensions their partner has and encourage them to be open too, and that they both know how to access them.

You should also make sure your client and their partner have wills in place and up to date expression of wishes forms.

If your client has taken a break from working - usually to look after children or older relatives - it can make it difficult to put pension contributions aside, so encourage them to talk to their partner about making contributions for them so that they are still building up their own pension savings even while they’re not earning.

Make use of the marriage allowance

If you are married, you are allowed to transfer £1,260 of your personal allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner which can reduce your joint tax bill by £252 a year.

So, if your client is earning under the personal allowance - £12,570 - and their partner earns more than this, they can transfer some of the allowance across.

As long as the £1,260 does not take their earnings above the threshold, they will still pay no tax, and their tax bill will be reduced. This money can then be used to help boost pension savings.

Using their spouses’ pension entitlement

Britons can pay £40,000 into a pension each year, tax free.

If your client is playing catch up with their own pension, and are perhaps earning more than they did when they were younger, they can use their partner’s entitlement too - spreading pension savings between your client and their partner could be much more tax efficient.

Of course, the tax relief on pension saving is bigger if you are a higher-rate tax payer, so it may make sense to divert pension saving to the higher earner’s savings.

Check the state pension

The amount of pension you get from the government is calculated based on your National Insurance record, and you need 35 qualifying years - either when you were working and paying NI, getting NI credits or making voluntary contributions - to be able to claim the new full state pension.