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Share your thoughts on saving for retirement with Scottish Widows - chance to win £300 voucher!

(163 Posts)
EmmaGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 06-Nov-18 14:11:48


We all know that it’s important to be organised when it comes to saving for our retirement. Some of us are pension savvy and have been making regular payment since starting work. Others find it all a bit confusing and scary so bury our heads in the sand. Scottish Widows are interested in finding out how you feel when it comes to saving for your retirement and whether you think women face more challenges when it comes to saving for their retirement?

Here’s what Scottish Widows has to say: “For many, sorting out their pension is at the bottom of the to do list with lots of other day to day priorities to consider. We understand life is different for everyone and a lot depends on what age and stage you’re at in life. Each stage comes with its own set of financial challenges to think about – job hunting, paying rent and student loans, mortgages, marriage, and careers. So when does retirement make the list?

Our latest research shows that many women aren’t planning their pension early enough with women in their 20s far less likely than men of the same age to be saving enough, or anything, for their future. This is worrying given that women statistically live longer than men and earn less.

We want to empower women to take control of their pension whatever their age. We’d love to hear your thoughts as we examine these issues in more depth, so that we can continue to ensure more women take ownership of their financial futures and look forward to retirement.”

So how do you feel when it comes to saving for retirement? Do you feel organised or unprepared? If you’re already retired do you have any tips to share about your experience? What challenges, if any, do you think women face in particular when it comes to saving for retirement? Do you think that parental leave has a big effect on stalling pension payments for women?

Whatever your thoughts are when it comes to saving for retirement please share them below to be entered into a prize draw to win a £300 voucher of your choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck


Terms and conditions apply

NfkDumpling Wed 07-Nov-18 17:09:14

If you’re a higher rate tax payer living outside London you’ll have enough to be able to put a bit aside for a pension. If not you won’t.

The government says wages are rising but in my part of the country the only people who’ve had wage rises in the last five years are those on minimum wage (Chief Executives on large salaries excepted.) This means that those who were just above minimum wage were overtaken and now also on minimum wage.

There’s no way the average person with a mortgage and a family has spare cash to put into a pension pot. Pensions cannot be considered until the children leave university and possibly home!

M0nica Wed 07-Nov-18 17:25:13

I have never quite understood why women are so careless about their financial futures, especially nowadays when so many marriages break up.

It is so much easier than it was. In my 20s, if you had less than 5 years contribution to an employers fund when you left the company, you just got your contribution handed back, no choice. Again when I returned to work, part-timers were barred from the pension scheme. Changes in legislation mean that these problems have been done away with.

I was unable to start building up a pension until I returned to full time work at 40. I then made Additional Voluntary contributions, by paying half of any pay rise straight into my pension. What you never see in your pay cheque you do not miss. When I was made redundant before retirement age, I paid the voluntary contribution to my state pension, I think it cost £3 - 4 a week until I reached retirement age.

NfkDumpling, I think you are being unduly pessimistic. Both my DC have been paying into company organised pension schemes since their mid-twenties. One lives in Yorkshire, one in the south east. Both have mortgages and one is married with children. Neither of them is a higher rate tax payer, and they were on quite low salaries for at least the first 10 years they were paying into pension schemes.

It can be done.

GreenGran78 Wed 07-Nov-18 18:47:11

As a stay-at-home Mum, born in 1939, I never had the chance to build up a pension pot. My husband (born 1933) retired early, due to ill-health, and the Graduated Pension that he had contributed to was a dead loss. We had no spare cash to save up for retirement. Buying our house and caring for our family took almost all our resources.
We survived on just our State Pension. Since my husband died 3 years ago I am doing likewise. I manage ok, but there isn't much left over for travel or treats.

Mabel2 Wed 07-Nov-18 20:19:18

I took early retirement due to ill health. Despite my work pension and my husband's pension he still needs to work to allow us to eat, pay bills. It seems you need a huge pension pot to manage these days. And the state pension age just keeps going up.
The pension available to those on lower wages is almost pointless, and we've never had spare cash to save. That's without us ever having had holidays.

PECS Wed 07-Nov-18 21:22:40

I was in a public service job with a pension from the age of 21. I also chose to pay the higher rate for state pension when I married. I did have 4 years out of paid employment and another 3 years working part time to raise my daughters when I was in my mid 20s-early 30s.

When I had a promotion I chose to use the increase in my salary to set up AVCs so that I could 'cover' the time I was not in paid employment. I retired at 60 and could have my work pension. I received state pension just after my 61st birthday.

My union provided advice on AVC and on opting in to higher state pension rates. I was fortunate enough to have a partner and so on our joint income I could afford to use my salary increase to set up AVCs. If a single parent I probably would not have been able to. My AVC income pays for any treats as it is paid twice a year: Christmas and summer!

jenpax Wed 07-Nov-18 22:30:27

I have always worked for a charity or Civil Service and my pension pots are tiny reflecting the lower salaries paid to professionals in these jobs.
I have also been the sole salary earner in my household while my children were growing up and I had no capacity to save into a pension as every penny was needed just to keep the house going. I am not relying on my private pension when I eventually reach retirement age but instead will draw out my pension pots when I reach 55 and invest in a buy to let property as I have worked out that this will give me a better return for my money and an immediate additional income!

cornergran Wed 07-Nov-18 22:49:11

As for many others my level of work and then hours of work precluded joining an occupational pension scheme. I also had contributions returned on changing jobs. I’m sure there were many in the same situation.

Once I could join - I was 40 - I paid AVC’s and latterly as a self employed person made sure my NI contributions were paid. So, I do have a full State pension but in spite of my efforts my occupational pension is much lower than it could be. Advice for younger women is take advantage of a pension scheme, retirement isn’t free! Recent changes in regulation around State Pension is evidence, if needed, that it’s essential to make your own provision no matter if contributions are low in the beginning, making a start I’d the important thing.

Granny23 Wed 07-Nov-18 23:16:45

I was deemed to be a 'temporary' full time worker from the day I married and thereby removed from the generous non-contributory pension scheme. I actually worked longer for the same high street bank on this temporary basis than I did as a full member of staff but left to have 1st baby with neither pension rights nor dowry. As my husband was self employed he had no works pension either, so we started a small private pension for him/us and later when I returned to work and we could afford it we started a bigger private pension, again in his name, but actually paid from my earnings as I had a decent monthly salary whereas his earnings were variable.

It was many years later when someone asked me what would happen to HIS (I thought of it as OUR) pension, if he died before reaching retirement age. I checked this out and discovered that should he die before he was 65 for the smaller pension or 70 for the larger one, then the entire fund would be lost and I as his widow would receive nothing at all. My Father had just died and I received approx £10,000 from his estate which I put into a pension fund for myself, to which I added monthly contributions until I reached retirement age. I bought an annuity with the fund which pays me £180 a month.

I also have a reduced State Pension because of my years out of the workforce or working part-time while the children were small. So my total weekly income is under £200. We are comfortable as a couple but I shall be very poor if I become a widow.

cidney1 Thu 08-Nov-18 00:00:38

Back in the day when you were young, you started work, handed over half of your wages to your mother and spent the rest on bus fares, a new dress or pair of shoes and a trip to the pictures once a week with your friends. You didn't pay into a pension fund. Later on you did but when you changed jobs they simply gave you your pension money back. Nobody saved for a pension, the state promised to give you a pension in old age in return for the national insurance contributions you paid in. Then you marry the unskilled man you love who never earned a fortune, and had children, you return to work struggle part-time on zero hours and no sick pay or time off for sick children, then they grow up and go to university, then you work some more and help them with money to pay for books and transport and food and resources they need. Finding money to put aside for savings? Well you do until the only car you own, well can afford to own, starts playing up and you are having to find money to keep it on the road to get to the part-time jobs that you do because transport is so poor. Then your children can't find work using their degrees, and come back home then leave again to work in supermarkets or card shops. Finally you find yourself in yet more part-time work not earning enough to be auto-enrolled in a pension fund. Next you find yourself facing redundancy but not being there long enough to receive any redundancy compensation, and face retirement soon with no pension pot anywhere and not able to receive a full state pension despite working for 38 years, most of which is part-time, seasonal or zero hours and living in one of the most deprived towns with expensive food and too expensive to go out for a night out treat, and discover that you are not regarded as poor enough to receive any benefits because you mistakenly thought buying your small terraced house years ago would be a good thing to do (but lack the funds to do it up fully), so you just to soldier on again. We haven't had a holiday for over 16 years and have been abroad in the past camping a few times with the children. I have drummed it into my children to start saving now or they will be as impoverished as I will soon be! I am glad at least that I have never followed fashion trends and still have a sense of humour and a big smile otherwise .......... So what was the question again? Ah saving for retirement.....!

gillybob Thu 08-Nov-18 07:36:11

I enjoyed your post cidney and can relate to it in so many ways . I have worked full time all of my life . Many years as a single parent and Self employed on a pittance (well under minimum wage) for the last 25 years. Save ? Pension? What a joke that is . I will have worked over 50 years before I get even the state pension . I don’t think that questionnaire was aimed at the likes of us .

lionpops Thu 08-Nov-18 08:20:27

I was always told that you need in invest half your age as a percentage into your pension so an 18 year old would do 9%.
Not very realistic. People move around jobs no and sometimes have tiny pensions from each one. My advice is to keep. Track. Of them as cumulatively they can make a difference in retirement.

Charleygirl5 Thu 08-Nov-18 09:21:58

I have paid into a pension since I was 18 years old and paid until I was 60. I was not one for changing jobs so I was fortunate not to have a break in service. I could have retired at the age of 55 and was desperate to do so but felt my pension would be insufficient because I was now on my own, living in London and still paying a mortgage. I worked until I was 60 and received the full state pension and my work pension.

I was talked into paying AVCs many years ago so that will be extra once I decide what to do with it.

I think I was fortunate, my father was very good with money so he taught me a lot. I was never profligate with money which does help.

Granny23 Thu 08-Nov-18 09:29:45

Great post Cidney1 You have only missed out the final stage when one or other of you needs 'care' and if you have any savings or a large pension, they will be taken to pay your care costs.

Elrel Thu 08-Nov-18 11:38:34

Retired from teaching at 60 but still did supply work for over 10 more years. Because of gaps my pension was small and anyway I still enjoyed the work. My lump sum, also modest, paid off my mortgage and I cut up all my store cards with the intention of never again owing money. Gradually I changed where I shopped for groceries and discovered all kinds of ways to spend less. I found I needed far fewer clothes and that charity shops were well worth exploring for all kinds of things. I've never driven so am mostly happy with public transport although the occasional private hire car is a luxury. I'm fortunate to own my small house but that is really the result of my DF being able to afford a 3 bedroom newbuild when my parents married in the 1930s. They never had enough income to save and foreign holidays and a car were beyond their reach.

Tracey72 Thu 08-Nov-18 12:59:49

Im in my mid 40s and started saving about 5 years ago. I put a set amount into a saving account each month and this is for my retirement when the time comes. I feel we are organised for our retirements and have done the best we can with the money we have

M0nica Thu 08-Nov-18 14:59:41

Granny23 if you have any savings or a large pension, they will be taken to pay your care costs. and why not?

We should expect to support ourselves until we die, including if we need care. If you genuinely can't then the state will step in. But why should anyone with money expect tax payers, many probably on low incomes, to pay for someone's care so that their children or the local cat's home should get a windfall, however small.

PECS Thu 08-Nov-18 20:47:59

Information, well communicated, is important. We were not well off or poor. We had to budget carefully and live modestly until our children were post uni stage. I am grateful to my union for providing clear guidance at a time when it would have been easy to make different choices which would have made my retirement income much less .

Bikerhiker Fri 09-Nov-18 00:29:54

I definitely began to prepare too late. I think there should be a public information film, or maybe pension information event in schools, explaining that we get qualifications for our future jobs, we look after our health for our future fitness, but we don't necessarily look after our finances for our future financial health. Simple information for school children. It's common sense.

Granny23 Fri 09-Nov-18 11:20:21

Monica I am not talking about having money to pass on to DC or, God Forbid, a cat's home. I am referring to the position of a widow, or widower, where their joint savings and incomes have been used up to pay for care leaving the survivor with just enough to survive.

The other injustice that rankles is that if my DH had a physical illness, eg Cancer, rather than a mental illness i.e Dementia, then all his care/tratment costs would be covered by the NHS.

The point I was trying to make (albeit badly) is that very commonly in our age group, the fat pension, the ISAs (sometimes even their house) etc. etc. are held in the man's name, or jointly. This leaves the wife financially vulnerable if her DH requires long term care or she is widowed. I would urge women/couples in this situation to re-examine their finances and ensure that there is provision for her if this situation arises.

Annaram1 Fri 09-Nov-18 11:28:01

I know I am stupid but just what is a DC or DH? Can't people just spell out the whole word so that idiots like me know what they are talking about?
Perhaps Gransnet could provide a list of these acronyms, please!

gillybob Fri 09-Nov-18 11:52:29

There is already a list of acronyms on the site Annaramm1 smile

Seakay Fri 09-Nov-18 13:35:38

Annaram1 Dear Child Dear Husband

Seakay Fri 09-Nov-18 13:43:41

I have nothing to rely on but the state pension and whatever savings I have left. I am currently living on them because no one told me when I was first ill that if I didn't apply for Statuary Sick Pay straight away I'd never be able to, and at the time my then husband said we were well off enough for him to support me and we shouldn't put strain on the benefits system if we could manage without. I have been unable to work for years (Fibromyalgia) and although I contracted out of SERPS when I was working, (as advised by the government at the time) this has not resulted in my having any monies which I can locate. My husband has divorced me (not good with illness) and I have no claim on his pension.

isis53 Fri 09-Nov-18 14:03:47

I am surviving on a state pension and pension credit and regret so much not saving for my future but my circumstances for many years didnt allow me to.