Pensions - Articles - New research shows women at risk of financial meltdown

New research by mutual insurer Royal London has found large numbers of women across the age spectrum would be at risk of ‘financial meltdown’ in the event of a relationship breakdown because of their lack of individual pension rights or even financial plans.

 Significant numbers of younger women said that they had no long-term financial plans of their own. But perhaps more surprisingly, older women were also relying heavily on the pension rights of a spouse or partner.
 According to a YouGov survey specially commissioned for Royal London approximately 45% of women living with a partner said they were either not confident or did not know if their long term financial plans would be adequate if their current relationship failed. Just 34% of men felt the same way.
 While initiatives such as auto-enrolment have boosted the number of women saving into a pension, the data shows little evidence that women are increasingly taking responsibility for their long term planning. Only 38% of women living with a partner aged between the ages of 18 and 34 said they were either very or reasonably confident in their long term planning compared to 58% of men living with a partner in the same age group. Worryingly, 30% of these women aged between 18 and 34 said they haven’t made any long term plans. This compares to just 12% of men.
 This lack of confidence was evident even at older age groups with just 56% of women aged 55 and over, living with a partner saying they were either very confident or reasonably confident that their plans would be adequate, if their current relationship failed. This compares to 68% of men in the same category.
 Commenting on the findings, Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, said: “These findings are extremely worrying and show that we still have a long way to go to ensure women are building resilient retirement plans. While it can be tempting to rely on the pension provision of a partner, particularly if it is generous, women risk financial meltdown should the relationship fail and they could find themselves in severe financial difficulty. We need to build on the success of auto-enrolment and encourage women to start saving early and build up their contributions so they can build a strong financial foundation for themselves.”

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