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Women’s pensions lag by £5,750

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The average female retiring in 2012 will receive a pension £5,750 lower than her male counterparts.

Women are looking at a retirement income of £12,250 a year compared with £18,000 for men.

Prudential’s Class of 2012 study shows the gender gap is narrowing – it was £6,642 in 2009 – but still significant.

The disparity in retirement income is largely a result of the lifetime earnings gap between men and women, which Chartered Management Institute figures identify as a difference of £423,390.

Research shows that only 31% of women planning to retire this year believe that they will have enough income to be able to retire in comfort – a problem exacerbated by a legacy of rigid Basic State Pension accrual rules and a history of under-saving among older women, who often find themselves reliant on their husbands’ pensions.

Prudential is urging women over the age of 55 to act now to educate themselves on their projected Basic State Pension entitlement, in order to ensure that they qualify in full, and to consult their local advisory service on other benefits to which they may be entitled.

Deirdre Flood, Prudential’s retirement expert, said:

“Recent legislative changes have made the pension system fairer for women. However, many women who are in their fifties will still struggle to qualify for the full Basic State Pension as they have spent much of their working lives earning money under more rigid accrual rules.

“The closure of the pensions gender gap is happening much too slowly and older women continue to be more vulnerable. It’s important that women take control of their finances and take steps to improve their potential retirement pot.”

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