Our gender pensions gap ‘one of worst’ – only talking will close it

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Tees firm Active Chartered Financial Planners is encouraging women across the region to talk about their pension provision in order to close the pension gap. Liza Pontone, a chartered financial planner at Active and an ambassador for the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) Insuring Women’s Futures Programme, explains more…

In our region, women’s pension pots are on average 50% smaller than men’s, which is one of the largest differences in the UK.

Recent research by PensionBee found that the average male pension in the region is £16,531 compared to an average female pension of £8,209. In the UK overall, the average pensions for men and women respectively is £23,461 and £16,083, a difference of 31%.

We all need to talk about how much we’re putting away for our retirement before it’s too late, to avoid missing out.

It’s sad to see that the North East has such a pronounced gender divide in pensions, but sadly, not surprising.

I was shocked to read the CII’s statistics about women’s pensions, particularly those impacting age 20 to 40 years old. For example, the majority of women aged 25 now will accumulate a workplace pension that is 20% less than men the same age by the time they reach 65, and on average, men under 35 receive £217 a year more in employer contributions towards retirement than their female counterparts.

Many older women also find themselves in difficulty and dependent on the pensions of male spouses or having to sell their homes to make up the shortfall. This is often due to taking time off earlier in their careers to raise families or to support older relatives, two roles which frequently fall to women.

I hope that more women in our region will start preparing for their pensions early in their careers and talk to pensions experts like myself about how to keep adding to their pension pot if they need to take an extended leave from work.

If I could give women one piece of advice during Talk Money Week – which runs this week until Friday (November 22) – it would be, obviously, to talk about your money! Staying quiet will not address the inequality in pensions.

The information provided must not be considered as financial advice. We always recommend that you seek independent financial advice before making any financial decisions.

Liza Pontone
Active Chartered Financial Planners


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