We know that Pension planning is not something you want to do on an evening, it makes a terrible date night and even painting the fence might be a more attractive proposition than digging out old paperwork and trying to wrap your head around several pages of FCA mandated jargon.
According to new research, one in five women are leaving responsibility for their pension to their partner. Perhaps more worryingly, a quarter of women are entirely losing touch with the details of their pension savings which can happen for a number of reasons. Marriage, divorce, relocation and changes in employment can all lead to difficulties in tracing our pensions.
The research from investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown found that 12% of people leave their long-term finances to their partner to sort out.
Worringly though women are twice as likely to delegate responsibility for their long-term finances as men.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said:
“There are some jobs we find ourselves handing over to our partner, because they’re more interested or because we can’t face it. But while it doesn’t matter who takes the bins out or is responsible for hoovering, if we’re passing over long term financial planning to our partner, this comes with serious risks.”
With women more likely than men to leave responsibility for long-term finances to their partner, there is a significant danger that your future is left in the hands of someone else.
Being out of control with your long-term finances, including your retirement planning, can result in bad outcomes.
What if your partner is not as skilled or engaged in your long-term financial planning as you think they are? When you retire, you could get a nasty surprise when you discover the outcome of their planning on your behalf.
And if you get separated or divorced, you may have no idea about the value of investments and pensions in your relationship, which should form part of any financial settlement.
Hargreaves Lansdown shared five critical times in your life when you should reconnect with your pension.
The first is when you change jobs. You should check the terms of any pension scheme offered by your new employer, including the contribution levels and investment options.
People often leave workplace pensions invested in the default fund, which may not suit your risk appetite or retirement timescales.
The second key time in your life to reconnect with your pension is when you change tax rates.
Earning more money and paying a higher or additional income tax rate is a natural prompt to review your pension savings, as you could benefit from a higher rate of income tax relief.
The third time to reconnect with your pension is when you have children. Giving up work to raise kids is an opportune time to review your joint pension savings.
Number four is if you get divorced. Divorce or separation is a pivotal time to understand the value of your pension savings as a couple, to ensure they are shared fairly in any financial settlement.
Last but not least, the fifth key moment in life to reconnect with your pension is when you celebrate your 50th birthday.
When you turn 50, you can access the free Pension Wise guidance service and talk to them about your retirement planning options. It’s also well worth seeking independent financial advice in this ‘home run’ to retirement.