Published On: Fri, Jun 11th, 2021

State pension is only retirement income for 38% of women over 55 – ‘Stark findings’ | Personal Finance | Finance

Worryingly, women are far more likely to be relying solely on the state pension in retirement than men, according to new research from Barnett Waddingham. Three tenths (30 percent) of women do not have any private or workplace pensions, and will receive a state pension only at retirement.

The study shows auto-enrolment is having more of an impact on younger workers, with 59 percent of millennial women (aged 25 to 34) holding a workplace or occupational pension.

This is more than the 58 percent of millennial men who do so.

It’s after the age of 35 that the pensions gap begins to diverge, the research found.

By ages 45 to 54, 14 percent more men than women hold a workplace pension, at 67 percent compared to 53 percent respectively.


This suggests auto-enrolment stops being as effective for women in mid-life, perhaps as a consequence of parental responsibility leading to part-time or lower-paid work, Barnett Waddingham said.

Amanda Latham, Policy & Strategy Lead at Barnett Waddingham, commented: “The findings of our research are stark; women are twice as likely than men to be walking into retirement with insufficient funds.

“For many, a state pension alone is simply not enough to cover the costs of a comfortable retirement.

“Without the additional support of a private or workplace pension, people could face financial instability in later life or a total change in lifestyle.

“While auto-enrolment is getting more younger women on the path to retirement savings, women in mid- and later-life are more likely to be disadvantaged.

“For example, our previous study into the gender pensions gap found that women taking a career break to have children are more likely to fall behind and end up with less in their pension pot at retirement.

“To turn the dial and close the gender pensions gap, we need to be overhauling the UK pension system which is intrinsically biased towards men.

“Policymakers and employers need to think about how to introduce measures that will target women who are not topping up their pension at crucial stages of life – whether it be reviewing auto-enrolment rules, or encouraging employers to improve pay and benefits during and after a career break.

“It may not be enough to simply strive for equal treatment within the pensions system.

“Instead, we should be thinking about how to create a more fair, robust and inclusive framework that gives everybody the best chance at building financial security for retirement in a targeted way.”

It is possible to check how much state pension a person will get by getting a state pension forecast.

This can be accessed online via GOV.UK, or a state pension forecast could also be applied for by post.

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