girl by display of pound coins at Royal Mint Experience

Falling through the cracks: It’s time to take control of your pension #AD

Are you saving enough for your future? It’s a simple question, but the answer is never straightforward. At least, it’s not for me. Scottish Widows have recently published the 15th Women & Retirement Report. They’re celebrating the good progress that has been made since the report started. In 2019, 57% of women are saving adequately for retirement. That’s the highest proportion since their research started, helped in part by auto-enrolment. Despite this positive change, men stand to benefit from a staggering £78,800 more in their pension pot than women. Certain groups of women continue to fall through the cracks, remaining underprepared for retirement. For example, only 47% of women earning £10,000 to £20,000 save adequately for the future.

mum and daughter at Nozstock

How to take control of your future

Scottish widows want to make it all a bit easier to get to grips with. Their YOUR Future Hub is packed with information to help women be better prepared. They have everything from wellbeing guides to videos answering common questions such as how to save more and what happens to your pension if you work part time.

Taking control of your pension now is an empowering way to ensure that you’re in control of your future. These days, there are now 1.7 million female entrepreneurs in the UK, the highest number ever. More than a third of those save nothing for their retirement. In fact, less than half of self-employed women save the recommended amount, compared to 56% of female employees.

What working from home looks like

Why this year’s report struck a chord with me

I’ve been working with Scottish Widows for a while now and their message always hits home loud and clear. And yet, all the steps being taken to help such as auto-enrolment didn’t apply to me. I fall into the category of self-employed females who don’t save enough for retirement. In fact, I’m currently not saving anything at all.

This year has been the first time in my adult life I’ve had no debt except for a mortgage. There has always been an overdraft, loan or credit card. Cars, holidays and incidental expenses all went on credit. When we had some money put aside, we’d often spend it on things that needed doing to the house. Now though, things are different. We have some savings and we’re earning enough to stay out of debt.

girl by display of pound coins at Royal Mint Experience
Not my money. Unfortunately.

Despite this, I fell into the 1/3 of self-employed women saving nothing for retirement. I’m so pleased that this group has been identified, because I acutely recognise the struggles. Even now I’m in a position to put some aside, I am worried. What if I lock my money away for the future, then need access to it? Will I fall into the debt spiral again?

I do have two pensions from previous employment, so I’ve got a pot to add to. I’m still building up to putting away larger sums each month, but I’ve dug out my previous pension statements and set up a direct debit to start paying in again. It feels good to be taking back control of my future.

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  1. I’m in the same group as you, it’s been 7 years since I stopped my full time job to become a SAHM and then self employed and I haven’t been putting money aside into a pension! But I really need to look into this!

    1. It’s very difficult when you’re struggling day to day to find money to put aside as well isn’t it? Really important though so now that I’m in a position to, I’ve prioritised it.