Gender pensions gap ‘starts from birth’

The gender pensions gap starts “from birth”, as 14,500 girls aged 15 or under had money paid into a pension for them compared to 15,300 boys in 2019/20, a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Hargreaves Lansdown has revealed.

However, the FOI request suggested that this gap was closing slightly as in 2015/16 only 13,800 girls had money paid into a pension for them compared to 15,800 boys.

Hargreaves Lansdown said that parents and grandparents can get their loved one’s retirement planning off to a “flying start” by making contributions to a Junior SIPP.

Contributions of up to £2,880 per year to a child’s pension can be made under a Junior SIPP and tax relief can be received to top 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, assuming investment returns of 5 per cent.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior pensions and retirement analyst, Helen Morrissey, commented: “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.”

Morrissey also stated that any amount can make a real difference, pointing to Hargreaves Lansdown data that showed £120 per month would get a tax relief top up of £30 from the government which could give someone around £26,000 by the time they are 18.

Whilst recommending contributing to a child’s pension as a great way to get their retirement planning “off to a flying start”, Morrisey pointed out that the number of people taking advantage remain relatively flat with 29,800 in 2019/20 compared to 29,600 in 2015/16.

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