My top tips for how women can boost their pension

It’s no secret there’s a gender pay gap in the UK. Our latest research shows that it’s something felt in retirement too.

In September, we surveyed 1,200 working adults aged 50 or over. What we discovered is that men have an average of 46% more saved into their pension pot compared to women. In other words, men are on track to have a more financially comfortable retirement than women. If you’re in a situation of worrying about your pension, and the retirement you’re set to have, I want to help you. Read on to find out what steps you could take.

Let’s start with the Gender Pension Gap facts

16% of women are unsure if they will ever be able to retire.

Of the women we polled, 30% have taken more than two years off for maternity leave and childcare. When they were taking time out of work, 69% of these women did not consider how this might affect their pension down the line.

I can completely relate to all of this. I have children, and I remember that feeling – when I returned from maternity leave – of how there was so much going on. Getting back into the swing of things in your role, juggling new childcare arrangements – thinking about my pension was not at the top of my priority list.

Aside from childcare, almost one in five working women have also taken other significant breaks away from the workplace, compared to 14% of men.

Now, 56% of the women surveyed said they are worried they won’t be able to afford the retirement they had hoped for.

This compares to 44% of men who feel the same way. It’s a situation not helped by the extra financial pressures we’re all feeling of late because of the rising cost of living. Our poll found 55% of women believe the rate of inflation is outpacing their investments and pension savings.

In total, men over 50 are aiming to put away an average of £296 a month for the future, whereas women are only aiming to save £193.

The gap is only getting bigger.

After more than 20 years working in the financial services industry, I’ve seen first-hand the big difference even relatively small changes could have on people’s financial future.

Here are my top tips for you:

1. Take control of your future – review your pensions

My first tip is simple: do something now.

Check how much you’re paying into a pension. Get hold of a statement from your provider to find out how much you have. If you’ve changed jobs over your career, you might have old pension pots too. These could play an important role in your future.

It might take a bit of digging – but getting hold of all this key information will give you a better idea of what you’re on course to have.

FREE Pension Health Check for Skipton Members

If you have a Skipton savings account or mortgage, we can help you find out if you’re on track to achieve the retirement you want.

Find out more about our Free Pension Health check.

2. Could you pay more into a pension?

Depending on your circumstances, there are some excellent tax incentives for paying more into a defined contribution pension. In fact, the government has recently made the rules even more favourable.

If your employer pays into your pension too, there could be even more reason to up your monthly contributions if you can afford to.

3. Find out how your pension is invested

But it’s not just about what you’re paying in. It’s also how your pension contributions are invested on your behalf.

If you’ve never checked, chances are your money is in your provider’s default scheme. It's really important that you check that it is tailored to your personal circumstances and your attitude towards risk and reward reflects your current situation. Financial advice could help you make informed choices.

4. Talk to our experienced pension specialists to see how we could help you make more of your money

  • Research shows that people who use a financial adviser expect to retire three years earlier than those who don’t get advice.
  • That’s according to March 2023 findings by Standard Life. It’s because the advice leaves them with the confidence of knowing they have the finances to fund their retirement lifestyle for longer.

Again, I’ve got first-hand experience of this. In my role at Skipton Building Society, I head up our team of financial advisers. I’ve seen how our advice can change people’s lives. From having the financial confidence to do more in retirement, to retiring much sooner than they’d dared hope.

At Skipton, we offer a free initial consultation on whether financial advice could help you.

  • We could review your current pension plans – plus any old defined contribution pensions you have – to give you a realistic picture of where you stand.
  • We have special tools to map out your likely spending in retirement, so you have a better idea of what you’ll need.
  • If it looks like your money could be working harder, we could offer personalised recommendations to help you build stronger plans.
  • Pay nothing in upfront fees to hear our advice.
  • You’ll only pay a fee if you decide to act on our advice. And with our no pressure promise, you can take your time before deciding what to do next.

Important information

  • A pension is a long-term investment. The value of your fund can go down or up and you may get back less than you invested. Your eventual income will depend upon factors such as the size of your fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax rules.
  • The way your pension is taxed depends on personal circumstances. Tax rules may change in the future.
  • Our financial advice service is available if you can invest or reinvest at least £20,000, or can commit to investing at least £500 per month. If you’d like advice on your current investments/pensions, the minimum value required is £50,000.
  • The opinions and information provided in this article are not advice. If you are looking for advice, you should speak to a financial or tax adviser.

Get in touch and get started

For more information on our pension planning service and to find out whether you could benefit from financial advice, call our team today for a free initial consultation.