Nine out of 10 women face poverty in retirement
Published 31/05/2011 | 05:00
NINE out of 10 women face poverty in retirement because they are far less prepared for older age than men, it was predicted yesterday.
The 'Sheconomy' conference heard women account for 85pc of consumer purchases, but they neglect to protect themselves financially.
This means that when it comes to retirement, redundancy and serious illness, women do not tend to have anything in place to allow them to draw down money and are left with state supports.
The conference, which was organised by Zara Mulholland Byrne of Mulholland Life and Pensions, Dublin, in association with Aviva Life and Pensions, found that four out of 10 women have no pension.
Ms Mulholland said: "Retirement can be a big shock, even for the most highly paid professionals and that is because most women don't allocate some of their earnings to fund their retirement.
"In fact, according to a survey conducted by Axa, 42pc of Irish women have no pension."
The adviser said that women find themselves with considerably less money to live on when they give up work.
"Only one in 10 women will maintain the same quality of life after retirement. Statistically, women live longer than men, so they have a wider gap of retirement time to fund."
Nearly 90pc of women experience a significant drop in income, and this can result in a loss of independence, spending power and self-esteem, Ms Mulholland said in reference to research by HSBC bank.
Contributing factors to these difficulties included the fact that women were more likely than men to work part-time or take career breaks due to childcare and family commitments. They were also more likely to care for an elderly relative and bear the associated costs.
Women will ordinarily take an earlier retirement than their male counterparts and, even today, women can often remain subject to lower wages than men, the conference was told.
All of these elements have the potential to significantly reduce women's pension contributions, the Sheconomy event was told.
The fact that women have longer life expectancy means women can find their modest pension pots have even further to stretch leaving them with a disappointing income through later years.
People generally tend to put funding a pension on the long finger, Ms Mulholland said.
"The key is to start early. It is important to get sound advice from a well-established pension provider.
Women can start a pension later in life and still improve their retirement prospects considerably, she added.