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NFU Mutual urges women to check their pensions

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A combination of poor pension planning, increased life expectancy and extended career breaks means that many women face an uncertain retirement, warns NFU Mutual.

Shelagh Hamer, pensions specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “The impacts of increased life expectancy and the raising of the state pension age are likely to be particularly felt by women. This is because women on average not only have smaller pensions savings than men, an issue often compounded by career breaks, but their higher life expectancy means that their smaller funds have to last longer.

“Really the solution is simple: women should take full advantage of the tax relief on offer to build up a decent pension to provide through what will hopefully be a long retirement.

“Don’t put off pension planning. By starting to fund a pension early, you have a much better chance of building up a sizeable fund for your retirement. Also, regularly review your arrangements to make sure they are in tune with any changes in your career and lifestyle.”

A woman who works from 18 to 30 in a final salary pension scheme could accrue a pension benefit of £5,000 per year based on a salary of £25,000 a year, By 40, without a career break, she will have earned at least £9,166 a year, but taking a five-year break, possible to raise children, would reduce her benefit to £7,083 a year, unless she makes up the break later.

If you are thinking of taking a career break try and continue contributing to a pension scheme. You can save the equivalent of your salary each year in a pension for five years, subject to a current maximum of £235,000.

The latest Office of National Statistics figures show that for 50 to 54 year olds in 2002, the median value of men’s pension wealth was estimated at £116,000. By contrast the median for women was only about £60,000. This reflects the fact that many women do not have private pension provision in their own right.


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