A new survey has shed fresh light on the extent to which people, especially women, rely on joint savings to help fund retirement.

The Scottish Widows report, which is based on a survey of over 5,000 adults in the UK, found that less than 20% of women have enough savings to see them through retirement.

This compares to a third of men, who say that independently of their partner, they have sufficient financial resources to fund retirement.

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The report also found that 1 in 10 women were totally reliant on their partner’s provision to fund retirement.

It is clear from the report that more women rely on their partners for retirement income, than the other way around. Experts have warned that this is potentially dangerous, with one in three marriages ending in divorce within 15 years and 78% of women, according to the report, unaware of whether they would be entitled to their partners pension if the marriage failed.

Even more worryingly, only 15% of the divorced women who took part in the survey said pensions were discussed as part of the financial settlement.

Tax efficient retirement planning

Not only is it important for women to have their own independent retirement provision, so they are not totally reliant on their partner in the event of a marriage breakdown, it also makes sense from a tax planning perspective. If all the income is held in one person’s name, in this case the husbands, this means that the partner’s Personal Allowance, the amount they can earn before paying tax, is going unused. If income is split more evenly between partners, using both Personal Allowances, less tax will be paid as a result, thereby increasing net income levels.

Lynn Graves, of Scottish Widows, said: “We know that the pressure on household budgets, the challenge of managing childcare and wider family responsibilities whilst balancing work, can all make it more difficult for women to save for retirement. For many older or divorced women, this can mean relying on a partner or other family members to provide support or additional income in later life.”

She continued: “However, unforeseen events can have a stark impact on retirement plans, and it is important for women make sure they know what they are entitled to and how much they can expect to receive in retirement. For this group of women, it is important to act now. Making a commitment to save a set amount each month, could mean the difference between a comfortable retirement and one full of financial difficulties.”

Why do women have less retirement provision?

Retirement experts believe there are a number of reasons why women are less likely than men to have their own independent retirement provision.

Firstly, it is still women who are most likely to stay at home and raise a family. This reduces their working life and means they may miss out on valuable National Insurance contributions required to fund a full State Pension, and have less time to build up private provision either through their own, or indeed their employer’s, pension contributions.

Secondly, women still, on average, earn less than men. A survey out this week from the Chartered Management Institute found that when male and female managers were compared, women earned on average £10,060 less per year than their male counterparts, which added up to a staggering £423,390 over a working life.

In ‘executive’ position, defined as anyone employed from junior manager to board level the gender pay gap runs at 25%, compared to 10.5% across all jobs.

Our team of Independent Financial Advisers in Nottingham are experienced in developing retirement income strategies for clients the length and breadth of the UK. If you are approaching retirement and would like advice on your options call one of our IFAs today on 0115 933 8433, alternatively enquire online or email info@investmentsense.co.uk