Women at risk of ‘financial meltdown’ due to lack of individual pension rights

Women of all age groups are at risk of a “financial meltdown” in the event of a relationship breakdown because of their lack of individual pension rights or even financial plans, according to new research by Royal London.

According to a YouGov survey specially commissioned for Royal London, approximately 45 per cent 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 per cent 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.

The issue affects both younger and older women; just 38 per cent 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 per cent of men living with a partner in the same age group.

Thirty per cent of these women aged between 18 and 34 said they haven’t made any long term plans. This compares to just 12 per cent of men.

With regards to older women, just 56 per cent of women aged 55 and over, living with a partner said they were either very confident or reasonably confident that their plans would be adequate, if their current relationship failed. This compares to 68 per cent of men in the same category.

Royal London pensions specialist, Helen Morrissey, said the findings are “extremely worrying” and show that “we 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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