The latest Annual Survey by Scottish Widows into pension provision for women was recently published. The survey’s aim is to find out how women in Britain approach financial planning, saving for the future and planning for retirement.
Among some of the headline findings, it shows that 50% are adequately saving for retirement, and that the average monthly savings being put away for retirement by women is £100. 78% of the women surveyed did not know how much they need to save for a comfortable retirement. The picture is an improving one with only 40% this time last year saving enough for their retirement. Many women are still relying on their partner to provide for them in retirement. But with statistics showing that almost 50% of marriages end in divorce, it is perhaps risky to not make adequate provision independently of what your partner has put aside.
What is perhaps most striking to see as divorce lawyers, is the finding that only 16% of women who went through a divorce said that pensions were discussed as part of the settlement. Whilst more women are now apparently aware of the options for pension provision on divorce, such as Pension Sharing, it seems that they are not taking advantage of such forms of financial provision when settling the finances. This is particularly concerning, as the survey highlights the inequalities in provision by women for their retirement generally. Women typically save £100 per month, but men save 40% more than that. This gap has widened since last year when it was 34%. It is not because women are saving less though, it is because they have only increased the amount saved by £6 in the last year compared to £20 by men.
A further recent report by the International Longevity Centre – “The rise and rise of the silver separator’ has found that:
- From 1990 to 2012, the number of men and women experiencing divorce aged 60 or above has risen by over 85% and the rate continues to rise;
- Based on current marriage and divorce rates by age, the total number of people over the age of 60 experiencing divorce will increase from 15,700 in 2012, to over 22,000 by 2037 – a 41% rise;
- By 2037, almost 1 in every 10 people experiencing divorce will be aged over 60.
This suggests that in contrast to the rate of divorce across the total population, it is increasing amongst the elder generation, the so called ‘silver splitters‘.
On divorce it is vitally important that proper legal advice is taken in relation to pension claims, and perhaps more significantly the value of pension provision in the context of financial settlements on divorce. We at Paradigm Family Law can provide specialist legal advice and we use Pension experts and Actuaries where appropriate to properly assess the value of the pensions involved. Only then can a proper assessment be made and advice given on the extent to which provision is needed for a secure and comfortable retirement.