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Women and pensions survey

The Pensions Advisory Service is pleased today, to launch its 2013-14 "Women & Pensions" Survey.  The survey is the third of its kind run by the organisation and has attracted a fantastic 1000 responses.  The survey asks a variety of questions to find out what the woman on the street really thinks about saving for retirement. 

This survey comes at a time when both State and Private pensions are changing and many people, particularly women, can find it difficult to adjust their plans and make the changes they need to have a good retirement income. 

Michelle Cracknell, Chief Executive of The Pensions Advisory Service states that:  

"It is encouraging to see that there have also been some marked improvements in the overall knowledge that women have about their pension, but there are still significant areas where we need to build on this.  Some changes being introduced by the Government, such as automatic enrolment, are likely to help but addressing inadequate pension provision, is unfortunately likely to remain a recurring issue for women over the next 15 to 20 years."

The report identifies five key issues that the organisation is committed to trying to help address:

•           Confidence: only 29% of respondents are confident about making decisions when saving for retirement,

•           Information: almost half of women do not know where to go for information on their pension,

•           Amount: only 26% of women surveyed knew how much they would get from the State in retirement,

•           Adequate: 76% of the respondents did not believe that they would have enough income to be financially comfortable in retirement yet more than half of respondents (54%) have made no changes to their retirement plans, 27% expect to work for longer and 5% are seeking work or planning to change jobs in order to  save for longer,   our respondents are positive advocates of automatic enrolment and

•           End of relationships: there is confusion and concern regarding pensions when relationships end through death, divorce and breakdown

Other key findings from the report found that despite a lack of knowledge about State Pension payments, the picture for private pension plans was more positive. Three out of five women (61%) were aware of how much their pension plan would pay in retirement, or knew where to obtain estimates of this. However, many women struggle to understand how pension value is calculated on divorce and many do not realise that they need to be very active in planning for retirement.

As part of the report, The Pensions Advisory Service will be supporting women in four key areas, raising awareness about:

•           Accessing information about State and private pensions - including changes to the State Pension age and tracing lost pensions;

•           Making up pension shortfalls - this includes voluntary National Insurance contributions (including the one off opportunity for making Class 3 A contributions) and getting higher tax relief (for certain women with children);

•           The benefits of saving in workplace pension schemes for women; and

•           Rebuilding retirement income and helping women better understand their position when a relationship breaks down.

As Michelle states "We know that many people are daunted by pensions and this is often driven by fear of the unknown and a lack of information.  The Pensions Advisory Service exists to support people through these issues and help gain the confidence they need to achieve their retirement objectives. Anyone affected by these issues can talk to one of our pension experts either by phone on 0300 123 1047 or via web chat at www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk".

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