The recent revelations about equal pay at the BBC have highlighted the ongoing gender pay gap that exists across the UK. Although steps are being taken to tackle the problem, women face an earnings gap as a result of career breaks, lower rates of pay and the responsibility and cost of childcare.
Women who take maternity leave may end up earning less in the long run, whether missing out on promotion opportunities, or returning to work on a part-time or flexible basis. With the high cost of childcare, some mothers can find that it doesn’t make financial sense for them to return to work full-time or at all.
IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO SAVE
All this can mean that women can miss out on saving for a pension. However, it’s important to remember that starting to save for retirement as early as possible is crucial, even if you can only afford relatively small amounts to start with. Saving regularly will give your money the time it needs to grow, and with the interest or dividends earned being reinvested, you’ll benefit from the compounding effect that will help your money grow.
The government’s auto-enrolment pension initiative is getting more and more workers saving for retirement, and by the end of this year, all employers will need to have a scheme in place. Women who are members of a work-based pension scheme should consider upping their contributions to provide a better outcome at retirement.
Women can also consider setting up a personal pension plan, and for those who want more control over their pension pot and how it’s invested, then there’s the option of a Self-invested Personal Pension Plan.
We all need to be realistic about the state pension. Getting a forecast of how much it will be and when it becomes payable is a good first step in assessing what you’ll have to live on. Seeking advice from an independent financial adviser can help you put plans in place for the future.
A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend on the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.