Pensions - Articles - Gender pension gap starts at birth

According to a recent FOI request made by HL, 14,500 girls aged 15 or under had money paid into a pension for them compared to 15,300 boys in 2019-20. The gap is closing. In 2015-16 only 13,800 girls had money paid into a pension for them compared to 15,800 boys.

 Parents and grandparents can get their loved one’s retirement planning off to a flying start by making contributions to a Junior SIPP.

 You can contribute up to £2,880 per year to a child’s pension (or any non-earner for that matter up until age 75) and they receive tax relief topping it up to £3,600.

 Someone contributing £150 per month would have accrued a pension pot of around £26,000 for a young person by the time they hit 18. If they didn’t make any further contributions the pot could be worth £290,000 at age 65. This assumes investment returns of 5%.

 Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown: “Part-time work, lower pay and time out of the workforce are key causes of the gender pension gap but this data shows the problem may start even earlier. The number of girls having their pension kickstarted by parents or grandparents remains consistently lower than for boys. Starting early can really help girls bridge the gender pension gap by mitigating some of the damage caused by time out of the workforce later and yet more boys are benefitting from this early boost than girls.

 “You can contribute up to £2,880 per year into a young person’s pension and they will get tax relief from the government topping them up to £3,600. Keeping that invested gives it the opportunity to grow into a tidy sum that they can then top up with their own pension contributions when they are auto-enrolled into a workplace pension at age 22.

 Any amount can make a real difference. HL data shows that £120 per month would get a tax relief top up of £30 from the government and this could give someone around £26,000 by the time they are 18. Even if they didn’t make any further contributions to that pension it could be worth as much as £290,000 by the time they hit age 65. If they then went on to make regular pension contributions boosted by their employer during their career, they would approach retirement with a robust retirement plan.

 Contributing to a child’s pension is a great way to get their retirement planning off to a flying start and yet the numbers of people taking advantage remain relatively flat – 29,800 in 2019-20 compared to 29,600 in 2015-16. This is only a tiny fraction of the number of people who could be benefiting from getting a firm foundation in place for their retirement planning as early as possible.”

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