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Divorce Day: Two thirds of split couples avoid pension talk

Divorce Day: Two thirds of split couples avoid pension talk
Matt Browning
Written By:
Matt Browning

Two thirds of divorcees avoid discussing their pension settlement while ending their marriage, research reveals.

With the first working Monday of the year providing the most petitions for divorce in the UK, Interactive Investor also revealed that women were more likely to not talk about what will happen with their pension.

Three-quarters (67%) of divorced women said they had not discussed what should be done with their retirement savings during the proceedings.

The same is true for over half (56%) of men, asked as part of the annual ‘Great British Retirement Survey’ of 9,000 respondents.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), pension funds make up 42% of a household’s wealth, meaning couples who don’t chat about their savings pot, could miss out on substantial sums of money when they split up.

The issue of women losing out on divorce settlements with pensions is exacerbated by the disparity in how much is in their savings pot.

According to an ONS wealth and assets survey, men aged between 55 to 64 will have an average of £228,200 in a private pension, whereas the average amount for women at the same age is £152,600 – a 50% difference.

Pension considerations in a divorce are not always straightforward

Myron Jobson, senior analyst of Interactive Investor, said: “The toll of the emotional stress during divorce proceedings, the misconception that other assets take precedence and a critical lack of awareness regarding the long-term financial implications are among the reasons why pensions aren’t considered.

“The ever-shifting pensions landscape doesn’t help matters, making it difficult for people to assess the real, long-term value of pension pots.”

Jobson added: “No one goes into a marriage with the intention of getting a divorce. Even so, taking steps to understand your own household’s finances is prudent, giving you a clearer understanding of your entitlements should the relationship break down, at worst, or helping you make informed financial decisions for a comfortable existence as a couple.

“Pension considerations in a divorce are not always straightforward. Offsetting them against other assets such as property might work for some, while splitting the pension or earmarking future payouts may work for others.”