Couples should think beyond 'honeymoon period' of early retirement

Couples should think beyond the “honeymoon period” of early retirement and have plans in place to manage the probability that one partner may outlive the other by a significant period of time.

The message, delivered by Just Group, comes after the retirement product provider calculated women are twice as likely to reach 100 years of age as men, once they pass their 90th birthday and that from age 70 upwards, there are about one million more widowed women than men in the UK.

Statistics published in September from the Office for National Statistics show that of the 57,000 90-year-old women recorded in 2008, around 3,930, or 6.9 per cent, lived to see their 100th year. In contrast, 890 men turned 100 last calendar year — just 3.7 per cent of the 24,000 90-year-old males recorded in 2008.

Just Group communications director, Stephen Lowe, said that life expectancy remains the cornerstone of later-life financial planning, and that it was crucial that people bear it in mind when establishing their later-life financial plans.

“Death and finances are not easy topics of conversation but avoiding them could cause greater upset and difficulty further down the line,” said Lowe.

ONS statistics have also shown that 45 per cent of retirees in the lowest income groups are single women, 38 per cent are couples and 17 per cent are single men.

As a result, Just Group believes that their rising longevity will result in more single women taking up new property equity release plans to supplement their pension incomes.

Earlier this year, the Equity Release Council said that single women had taken more than double the number of new equity release plans as men in the first half of 2019.

“Given the gap in pension provision between men and women, we foresee more growth in equity release as women seek to supplement their incomes in later life, enabling them to stay in their homes and communities,” said Lowe.

“On average, women will enter retirement with less savings and so, whether they are in a couple or single, they should think through their options given they are much likelier to live longer than men,” added Lowe.

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