Yesterday was the first day when both men and women started receiving the State Pension at the age of 65, marking the end of a 25-year process that has seen women's State Pension age climb up from the age of 60. However, many are questioning just how equal this is.
Not only have some women had as little as five years to prepare for the longer wait, they also tend to get lower State Pension payments than men, due to generally having lower-paid or more part-time jobs and therefore paying less in National Insurance (NI) contributions. Additionally, they could be missing out on extra NI credits related to time off work for childcare, with some experts warning that these changes could result in significant hardship for many women.
The increases aren't over yet, either, as both men and women's State Pension age will start to rise further, to 66 by October 2020, and then to 67 between 2026 and 2028, before ending up at 68 (according to current Government guidelines, which could change). This means anyone who is still more than 10 years away from their retirement may want to prepare themselves for either working longer or putting away more to cover the extra years.
With women still making up the vast majority of those in part-time employment, as well as more than half of those who are 'economically inactive' (according to official data from the Office for National Statistics), there's the further risk that auto-enrolment could be passing a lot of women by. While there are groups campaigning to fix the current State Pension inequality, anyone who's younger and not contributing to a workplace pension may want to get their own ducks in a row – the sooner the better.
In addition to a workplace pension, or for those who are self-employed a private pension, you could consider a Lifetime ISA, which allows you to save up for either retirement or a first home with the help of a Government bonus. Of course, it's always a good idea to have multiple savings and pensions pots set aside for your future, so you don't risk everything in a single account, and you might want to consider getting some professional advice as well.
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